Closed Turkey coup foiled: Erdogan demands cleric extradited from US as judiciary is purged

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech to his supporters in Istanbul

Live coverage of the aftermath of an attempted military coup in Turkey, where 3000 members of the military and security forces have been arrested and the judiciary has been purged.

Key developments

  • Erdogan demands “head” of suspected coup plotter Gulen from US; White House says it has not received extradition request
  • Gulen tells FT coup may have been orchestrated by Erdogan
  • PM hails Turkey now back in “complete” control of government
  • Nearly 3000 members of the military arrested; 2750 judges purged, senior judges arrested
  • Plotters who fled to Greece will be returned to Turkey – foreign minister
  • Total death count hits 265, with 161 civilians killed and 1440 wounded


Hello and welcome to the FT’s live coverage of the aftermath of an
attempted military coup in Turkey – the first time the army have
sought to overthrow a democratic government in the country in
nearly 20 years.

It is currently noon in Istanbul and Ankara – the two main cities where
the attempted putsch was scotched by government forces who have seemed
to have gained a semblance of control this morning.

At 4am local time, Turkish president Recep Tayip Erdogan told the country “the government is in control” having been returned from a holiday in the Bodrum area of the country.

The state run Anadolu news agency is reporting that around 1560 soldiers suspected of planning the putsch have been arrested.

This morning, people have begun taking over tanks in the streets of Istanbul as an eery calm descends over the city, journalist Laura Pitel reports on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/laurapitel/status/754219006693900292


What do we know so far?

If you’re just waking up to the news of events in Turkey, here’s a summary of what we know so far

- A breakaway faction within the Turkish military sought to launch a coup against the government of ruling president Recep Tayip Erdogan in the late hours on Friday night

- By 4am local time, the government declared that it had taken back control of the country

- Updated death toll is at 194 people

- State news reports 700 soldiers have surrendered to government forces in Ankara this morning , with over 1500 arrested over night

- Leaders from across the world, including Europe and the US, urge caution and return to the rule of law


Europe reacts: Germany, France condemn putsch

Germany has backed Turkey’s Reyep Tayip Erdogan’s suppression of a coup attempt in his country, amid fears in Berlin that the Turkish president could exploit the failed putsch to crack down on political enemies and reinforce his authoritarian rule.

Stefan Wagstyl in Berlin this morning reports comments from Germany’s foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier who said he was “very deeply disturbed” by the putsch attempt and that he “condemned in the strongest terms all attempts to change Turkey’s basic democratic order through violence.”

https://twitter.com/GermanyDiplo/status/754230092272898049

But in an appeal that seemed to include Mr Erdogan he called on “all those involved” to respect democratic institutions, the constitution and the rule of law, and take care to avoid “further bloodshed.”

With chancellor Angela Merkel travelling back from an EU-Asia summit in Mongolia on Saturday morning and not due back until the afternoon, Mr Steinmeier chaired a government crisis team meeting.

French foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said France “condemned” the coup attempt.

“The Turkish population has demonstrated great maturity and courage” Mr Ayrault said, paying tribute to the “numerous victims”, adding

France hopes that the Turkish democracy will come out strengthened from this challenge, and that fundamental liberties will be fully respected.

This morning, Martin Schulz, the German leader of the European Parliament, also called for an end to violence and the return of the separation of powers in Turkey

https://twitter.com/EP_President/status/754217220641783808

https://twitter.com/EP_President/status/754217220641783808

Late last night, EU leaders in Mongolia issued the following statement:

Turkey is a key partner for the European Union. The EU fully supports the democratically elected government, the institutions of the country and the rule of law. We call for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order. We continue to follow closely the developments and to coordinate with the 28 EU Member States.

https://twitter.com/EP_President/status/754217220641783808

As well as the refugee deal, a host of western countries, rely on Turkey’s support in the war against Islamist terrorists in Syria and as a bulwark of political stability in a very unstable Middle East. German soldiers are among many US and other troops stationed at Incirlik air base, in south east Turkey, which is used in Syrian operations.

Germany is Turkey’s most important partner in the EU, the biggest market for Turkish exports, the largest source of tourists to Turkey (5.5m visitors in 2015), and home to the most numerous expatriate population of Turkish and Turkish-origin people (around 3m).


Lira plunges by most since 2008

Turkey’s currency suffered its biggest fall in eight years on Friday as news of the attempted coup sent the lira spiraling by 5 per cent against the dollar.

The currency is now at 3.0164 against the greenback – its lowest since January.


Boris: UK supports Turkey’s democratically elected government

Britain’s first ever part-Turkish foreign minister, Boris Johnson, who has only been in the job for three days, has also come out in support of Turkey’s democratic institutions.

Earlier this morning, Mr Johnson told his Turkish counterpart that Britain backed
the country’s democratically elected government & institutions.

The former London mayor is currently at the Foreign Office “crisis centre” where he is being briefed on the latest from the country.

https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson/status/754253392160129024


Government detains 3000 putschists

An update on the arrest count which has now hit 2839 according to Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim who has been speaking on Turkish television in the last hour.

He added that 161 people, not involved in the coup, have been killed, with 1440 wounded.


Economy watch: flirting with junk

Last night’s coup attempt has been the latest in the series of major episodes of political and security upheaval in Turkey over the last 12 months. The country has seen two general elections, the deposition of its prime minister, a war in Syria and raging internal battle with its Kurdish minority in the last year.

The latest destabilisation could now see the country lose its wavering investment grade status, according to Tim Ash at Nomura. He writes:

Fitch and Moody’s both have Turkey one notch above junk. If political and security order is quickly restored I don’t expect a downgrade, but rating agencies are difficult to predict these days.

So anything is possible. But my base case is Turkey remains Investment Grade, but my confidence herein is clearly lower than it was on Friday.

In conclusion this coup attempt is likely to be seminal for Turkey, changing the character/face of the country finally towards a more Asiatic model of development, with a strong central presidency (around Erdogan), and a dominant single party government – more akin to Malaysia. It is likely to mark the end of Turkey’s EU accession bid.


Markets look for signs of reconciliation

The Turkish lira suffered its steepest daily fall since 2008 on news of the coup and nervous investors will be looking for president Erdogan to embark on a process of democratic reconciliation in order to calm their nerves over the state of the country, according to Michael Harris at Rennaisance Capital.

Mr Erdogan, who many analysts predict will be emboldened in his attempts to centralise power, must now adopt “a consensus approach to constitutional change” in order to quell fears of increasing authoritarianism says Mr Harris.

Most notably, he warns against the AKP holding another election (its third since last summer) to consolidate power.

Markets might initially like post-coup calm and a decisive election result – but you’d have to have a lot of faith in an unrestrained Erdogan to think that sentiment for real economic actors would improve.

The result friendly to both the country and the markets here is a clear message that elections are not on the table, that Kurdish voters won’t be dis-enfranchised and the MHP would be allowed to vote on a new leader before an election is called.


Turkish plotters request asylum in Greece

Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has asked Greek authorities to extradite eight plotters back to the country after a Black Hawk helicopter landed in Greece earlier today.

According to Greek media reports, seven of those on board were in military uniform and are believed to have been involved in the coup attempt.


BP: Turkish oil operations continue as normal

Oil giant BP has said today that its oil and gas operations have been undisrupted after last night’s events, with Azeri crude transiting Turkey through the Baku Tbilisi Ceyhan pipeline as normal.

BP also confirmed Azeri gas is flowing to Turkey as normal.


Turkey to celebrate July 15 as day of democracy

Following the scotched attempt to overthrow the government, Turkey’s authorities have called for July 15 to be celebrated as a day of democracy, according to AFP’s deputy Istanbul bureau chief:

https://twitter.com/Stuart_JW/status/754273048585527296


Mosques lead call against coup

Last night, many of Istanbul’s masjids (mosques) rang out the call to prayer (azaan) throughout the night and urged people to take to the streets to defy the coup.

This morning, masjids in the Gaziosmanpasa (GOP) district of Istanbul are still leading prayers over their PA systems around every five minutes or so, reports David O’Byrne in Istanbul.

GOP is a working class district with a mixed population, comprised of a lot of
poor Sunni religious Turks from Anatolia and also Kurds and
Alevis (a Shia sect considered heretical by some).

The neighbourhood is also adjacet to Gazi mahallesi, the biggest “Kurdish suburb” of Istanbul, which has seen frequent anti-government riots over the past
year.

Earlier today, Turkish prime miniser Binali Yildirim called on people to take to the streets this evening to show their support for the government.


“Terrible news for the economy”

Dani Rodrik, a Turkish economist at Harvard University, has underscored the economic fragility that has long been a feature of the country in recent years as it is heavily reliant on “hot flows” of foreign capital to plug its current account.

Mr Rodrik told the FT that economic pressures – particularly flagging tourism – had already pushed president Ergodan into making political peace with the likes of Russia, but this could now well reverse in light of the new round of instability.

“His recent reconciliation with Russia and Israel was driven largely by his desire to cut his economic losses”, said Mr Rodrik, adding:

The failed coup may be a political godsend for him — as it will enlarge his cult of personality — but it is also terrible news on the economic front.

From an investor’s perspective, Turkey looks more and more like a political basket case. And tourists will stay away too.

It would have been far worse of course if the coup had succeeded. But the coup attempt reveals that Turkey’s divisions run deeper than even the more pessimistic observers had reckoned.


Nearly 3,000 judges sacked after failed coup

Turkey’s Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors has laid off 2,745 judges, according to a statement on their website, indicating the government is convinced that sympathisers of the coup spread beyond the military faction behind yesterday’s violence.

Mehul Srivastava in Istanbul reports that Mr Erdogan has repeatedly blamed the coup on Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based imam whose followers held a significant number of jobs in the judiciary and the police before they were targeted in a still-continuing purge in December 2013.


John Kerry: no extradition request for Gulen

US secretary of state John Kerry has said Washington has received no request to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based Turkish cleric, who Ankara has accused of plotting the coup attempt.

Speaking just minutes ago, Mr Kerry said the US was willing to assist legitimate legislative efforts after the attempted putsch.

Earlier today, Turkey’s prime minister said: “Whichever country supports him [Gulen] isn’t a friend of Turkey. It is practically at war with Turkey.”

Before the coup attempt, Ankara had prepared an extradition request for Mr Gulen, who is accused of leading a terrorist organization.

Here’s a profile of the man accused of running a “parallel state” in Turkey.


Final coup battle ends in surrender

Military operations at the offices of the Turkish General Staff have ended with the surrender of the soldiers backing the coup, the Hurriyet Daily News is reporting.

Mehul Srivastava in Istabul writes that as far as we know, that was the last ongoing conflict in the failed coup by a faction of the Turkish military.

But Anadolu News Agency, a semi-official newswire, said new operations had started at the Council of State complex, which also houses the Supreme Court, as Mr Erdogan expanded a purge of followers of exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, who he has blamed for the attempted coup.


On the hunt for Gulen

It is a tranquil morning at the entrance of the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Centre in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, the compound where Fethullah Gulen, the man accused of being the mastermind behind the attempted coup more than 5,000 miles away in Turkey, is residing.

The FT’s James Fontanella-Khan and Adam Samson have been trying to get in touch with the cleric but have again been denied access, being told Mr Gulen, whose health is poor, is unlikely to speak directly with journalists, which were slowly gathering outside the compound.

The Turkish government has said those who support Mr Gulen are enemies of the state, and has said it will request his extradition back to Turkey.

Mr Gulen has denied any involvement or backing of the attempted coup in a statement that was given to the FT by a charity linked to to him.

“As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations,” said Mr Gulen, in an emailed statement.

“I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey. Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force.”

A Turkish media organization close to President Recep Tayip Erdogan said on Saturday that there would be an anti-Gulen protest in Saylorsburg, but the FT could not verify with the local police whether it would actually take place.


Saudis welcome normalisation in Turkey

Saudi Arabia has welcomed “the return of the situation in Turkey to normal,” according to the official news agency, writes Simone Kerr in Dubai.

An official source from the foreign ministry said the oil-rich kingdom, an ally of Mr Erdogan against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, had followed “with great concern developments in the brotherly Republic of Turkey which would result in destabilising its security and stability.”

Qatar, the tiny gas-rich Gulf state, also condemned the coup attempt. Doha has emerged as a close ally of the Erdogan administration, with both countries forming a regional axis backing the pan-Arab Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, phoned Mr Erdogan “congratulate him for the support the Turkish people have shown around Turkey’s leadership,” the official Qatari news agency reported.

Dubai’s Emirates airlines cancelled flights to Turkey on Saturday, while UAE diplomatic missions in Turkey warned its citizens to “stay in their residences and away from public areas due to the current state of emergency being observed.”


Mosques escalate calls for citizen protests

Mosques in the up-market Gaziosmanpaşa disctrict of Ankara are continuing to repeat their call for people to congregate in central Kızılay district this evening, David Bryne reports from Istanbul.


Judicial purge continues: judges arrested – reports

Following the sacking of nearly 3000 judges earlier today, local news is now reporting 31 senior judges from four separate courts, have been arrested, reports David O’Byrne in Istanbul.

The are reported to include judges from the highest court, the council of state (Danıştay) and from the supreme court.

Ankara prosecutors have already ordered the arrest of 140 Supreme court members, 48 members of the council of state and five members of the high council of judges and prosecutors as fears over support for the coup spread from the military to the judiciary.


Merkel: end the bloodshed

German chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the coup bid in “the strongest terms.”

Shortly after returning to Berlin on Saturday from an EU-Asia summit in Mongolia, she said:

It is tragic that so many people have paid for this coup attempt with their lives. the bloodshed in Turkey must now come to an end.

It is and remains the right of a people to vote in free elections who will rule…tanks on the streets and air attacks against your own population are wrong.


Turkish parliament to convene for emergency session

All of the major opposition parties rallied last night in opposition to the coup, ad the country’s parliament will now gather later today, reports the semi official state news agency, Anadolu:

https://twitter.com/anadoluagency/status/754316605136506880


Major military base operating on electrical generators

Turkey’s strategic Incirlik Air Force Base, which houses significant NATO and American military operations, especially against ISIS in Syria, is operating on backup generators, a US military official told the FT.

Mehul Srivastava reports that the cause for the failure of the main power supply remains unknown, while Turkish air space remains closed as Ankara quells the last gasps of an overnight coup attempt.

A Turkish official said the move was precautionary, to make sure all Turkish jets were only being piloted by loyal members of the military.

Another US official said that the break in power had only been temporary and the issue had been resolved.


PM addresses parliament

Turkey’s relatively newly appointed prime minister Binali Yıldırım
is addressing parliamentarians in Ankara in an emergency session convening right now.

He has deounced the coup attempt as being carried out by “traitors” and in hopes that this could mark a period of reasonable reconciliation in the otherwise polarised country, added that “cooperation in parliament will be a new start” for the country.

https://twitter.com/ByegmENG/status/754325943175503872


US defends reaction to coup

If, like me, you were following events late into the hour last night, one notable development was the delayed reaction from major western capitals to events as they unfolded.

Although now all of Turkey’s major allies in the EU and the US have come out in support of the country’s democratically elected government, the prevarication has raised heckles in some quarters over a muted defence for democratic principles for one of the west’s major (albeit troublesome) strategic allies.

In Washington, the FT’s Demetri Sevastopulo​ reports the state department is strongly dismissing suggestions the US had dragged its feet in making a statement about the coup as events unfolded.

One official said John Kerry, the secretary of state, received word of the situation just before he was about to hold a press conference in Moscow.

The state department official said Mr Kerry spoke to President Barack Obama en route to the airport immediately after the press conference, and also telephoned the Turkish foreign minister to reassure him that the US was supporting the government of Mr Erdogan. He said the US was hampered by the lack of accurate information about what was occurring, and that the US ambassador to Ankara had struggled to reach Turkish officials at the same time that he was trying to ensure US embassy were safe in the midst of the turmoil.

“Any suggestion that the US was in any way not going in behind the Turkish government is absolutely baseless and without foundation,” said the state department official.

In Europe, most of the EU’s major leaders were in Mongolia for an Asia summit, and released a joint statement when it appeared the coup attempt had failed.

Since then, Angela Merkel has come out in very strongly worded terms against the assault on the country’s democracy.


US suspends Isis airstrikes from Turkey – report

Following earlier reports of power problems at the major Incirlik Air Force Base, AFP report an official who says the US has suspended all Isis airstrikes from Turkey.

The move comes as the country’s airspace has been closed in light of events.

https://twitter.com/AFP/status/754329653612048384


Markets turn to Monday

An unprecedented currency fall in the wake of a major political earthquake…where have I heard that before?

Investor eyes will turn to see if the lira suffers a post-Brexit plummet having already suffered its worst daily depreciation since 2008 on Friday, dropping nearly 5 per cent as reports of a coup trickled late in the trading day.

Will the lira keep falling or stabilise at its now six month lows? The currency’s trajectory will be vital in determining just how investor appetite towards Turkey may have shifted in light of recent events.

It will also have an immediate impact on the central bank, which before Friday’s events was due to implement a 50 basis point cut to its main policy rate next week. That could now be tempered as a weaker lira could usher in unwanted inflation in to the economy.

But as the post-Brexit market moves have shown, sharp sell offs in the wake of sudden, unforseen political events can quickly temper. A weaker currency is also a useful “shock absorber” for an economy where investor and consumer confidence could be hit and business investment stalls.

Turkey’s economy has already been moderating with growth set to fall between 3.5-4 per cent this year according to the IMF, powered in large part by large amounts of government stimulus and domestic demand.


Trump supports Turkey

Donald Trump on Saturday expressed support for the people of Turkey, during an event where he unveiled Mike Pence, the Indiana governor, as his vice-presidential running mate.

“We wish them well. It looks like they are resolving the difficulty, but we wish them well,” Mr Trump said in reference to the situation in Turkey.


The revolution will be mosqued

One of the most striking parts of the last 12 hours has been the instrumental and very vocal role played by Turkey’s network of masjids (mosques).

They have been broadcasting the call to prayer (azaan) near constantly in some neighborhoods in Istanbul since late last night, urging people out on the streets in defiance of the putsch.

https://twitter.com/06JAnk/status/754360332164952065

Bloomberg’s Isobel Finkel in Istanbul gives a taste of some of the more colourful messages from the muezzins…

https://twitter.com/is_fink/status/754332460058550272


FT editorial: the danger of division

The FT has just published its editorial on events in Turkey, warning that further repression from the government will lead to a dangerous deterioration in the country’s cohesion and stability.

Here’s a snippet (read in full here).

The government has now declared victory, but this is very far from being a victory for Turkish democracy.

The uprising underlines the dangers posed by the deepening divisions in Turkish society. Mr Erdogan retains the passionate support of around half the country’s electorate, but he has made no concessions to the concerns of other groups.

In the absence of effective parliamentary opposition, he has stifled the media, stamped on street protests, and purged rivals from state institutions and his own party. He has proved willing to play the nationalist card for electoral gain — reigniting the smouldering conflict in the Kurdish south east. >And he is now intent on constitutional changes that would further cement his grip on power.

This is an environment in which many people fear the erosion of democratic institutions, and in which frustrations can easily spill over into violence. There is no denying the courage of the people who tackled tanks and armed soldiers in Istanbul and Ankara on Friday night; but there have also been some reports of ugly reprisals against young soldiers who had surrendered.


Counter coup protestors begin to gather

David O’Bryne in Istanbul reports of a small but loud group of protesters on Istanbul’s main shopping street, the 1km long pedestrianised Istiklal Caddesi.

Carrying flags, they are chanting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great), “our martyrs never die, our country will never be divided”. In some quarters protesters can be heard chanting: “bring back the death penalty” – a slogan usually heard in support of the military against the country’s Kurdish minority.

As it stands, the crowd numbers no more than 150, but are collecting gatherers as they walk through the main shopping district.


US halts operations from major Turkish base

An update on the situation in Turkish airspace, with the Pentagon confirming to the FT that the US has halted all operations from the Incirlik Air Base, following power outage problems.

Peter Cook, Pentagon spokesman, told the FT’s Demetri Sevastopulo that Turkey had “closed its airspace to military aircraft, and as a result air operations at Incirlik Air Base have been halted at this time”.

He added:

US officials are working with the Turks to resume air operations there as soon as possible.

In the meantime, US Central Command is adjusting flight operations in the counter-ISIL campaign to minimize any effects on the campaign.

US facilities at Incirlik are operating on internal power sources and a loss of commercial power to the base has not affected base operations.


Thomas Cook offers free cancellations on weekend flights

UK travel operator Thomas Cook has said that it is operating as normal on flights to Turkey, but will be offering its customers free changes and cancellations for those due to fly to the country on Saturday and Sunday.

In a statement, Thomas Cook said:

There has been no change to Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advice regarding travel to Turkey following the events of last night. Our flight and holiday programme is operating as normal and our staff on the ground in resort tell us is that everything is calm and customers are enjoying their holidays.

However, given the circumstances, we are offering free amendments and cancellations for all customers due to fly to Turkey today (Saturday 16 July) and tomorrow (Sunday 17 July).

We are monitoring the situation closely and will update when we have further information.

Any customers with any concerns about their holiday should visit www.thomascook.com/travel-updates/ or contact us on 01733 224536.”


Two Turkish generals in custody – reports

The semi state-backed Anadolu news agency is reporting that two army generals linked to the coup have been remanded in the southern Turkish province of Isparta today.

They have been named as Major Geneeral Metin Akkaya and Isparta Garrison Commander Major Geneneral Mustafa Kurutmaz.

As it stands, the arrest count is near 3000 according to the government, with hundreds of warrants against alleged conspirators issued by Ankara in the wake of the foiled attempt to overthrow the government.


Plotters who fled to Greece will be extradited

Turkey’s foreign minister has said that eight suspected conspirators who landed in Turkey seeking asylum earlier today, will be extradited back to the country. It comes after the prime minister called on Greek authorities to return the men to the country.

https://twitter.com/MevlutCavusoglu/status/754334734252138496


US urges citizens to take caution

A sense of normalcy seems to be returning to the streets of Istanbul and Ankara less than 12 hours after the attempted putsch, but the US government is warning its citizens to approach with caution and carry out only essential travel in the country:

https://twitter.com/USEmbassyTurkey/status/754342364936896512


Waiting for Erdogan

Turkey’s domineering president has not yet officially addressed the nation today, but was spotted on the streets of Istanbul greeting crowds earlier this afternoon.

We’re expecting to hear from President Erdogan at some point today:

https://twitter.com/BBCWorld/status/754332315157803008


Economy set for post-coup pain

Last night’s scotched coup, the first in nearly two decades in Turkey, threatens to unleash a fresh round of instability which could land a stinging long-term blow to an economy once seen as an emerging markets superstar.

Chaotic scenes of rebel soldiers taking to the streets of Istanbul and Ankara on Friday caused the lira to plummet by 5 per cent — its biggest fall since 2008 — in an economy dependent on short-term capital flows.

The currency’s weakness risks pushing up inflation and adding further pressure to Turkey’s yawning current account, while the uncertainty will threaten inward investment and tourism.

“It is a very serious confidence shock but it also dependson how permanent the depreciation in the currency will prove,” said Murat Ucer, economist at Global Source Partners, a consultancy.

The tumult adds to an already volatile year, which has seen two general elections, a prime minister deposed and a wave of attacks blamed on Isis and Kurdish militants.

“From an investor’s perspective, Turkey looks more and more like a political basket case”, said Dani Rodrik, a Turkish economist at Harvard University.

Bulent Gultekin, a former Turkish central bank governor in the 1990s,
said short term fiscal fixes could not solve underlying growth problems in the country.

“I’m sure this pushes the government’s focuses further into short-term policies and concern. Without long-term investment in education and R&D or an export-led economy, you condemn yourself to a slower economic growth in the long-term.”

The IMF expects growth to hit between 3.5-4 per cent this year, a far cry from the breakneck output growth Turkey hit in the years before the financial crisis.

Read the FT’s full story here


Obama: US laments loss of life

The White House has just released its latest readout on events on Turkey, noting that president Obama pushed for the “vital need for all parties in Turkey to act within the rule of law and to avoid actions that would lead to further violence or instability”.

Here it is in full:

The President this morning received an update from his national security and broader foreign policy team on the situation in Turkey. The President’s advisors apprised him of the most recent developments on the ground, and the President reiterated the United States’ unwavering support for the democratically-elected, civilian Government of Turkey.

The President instructed his team to continue to work with their Turkish counterparts to maintain the safety and well-being of diplomatic missions and personnel, U.S. servicemembers, and their dependents.

While we have no indications as of yet that Americans were killed or injured in the violence, the President and his team lamented the loss of life and registered the vital need for all parties in Turkey to act within the rule of law and to avoid actions that would lead to further violence or instability.

The President also underscored the shared challenges that will require continued Turkish cooperation, including our joint efforts against terrorism. The President requested continued updates, as the situation warrants.


Turks celebrate on the streets

Turkey’s prime minister has called for the country to celebrate July 15 as a day of democracy and many are heeding his words as evening settles in Istanbul.

AFP’s Raziye Akkoc is in one district in Istanbul where the flags are flying:

https://twitter.com/RazAkkoc/status/754355676437221376


Airspace misery leads to travel chaos

The aftermath of the coup attempt has left Turkey with limited air links to the rest of the world and plenty of frustrated passengers trying to figure out how to get out or in to country.

There were numerous reports on social media of passengers stuck in transit at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, which Turkish Airlines has turned into a major hub, who were stuck during the coup and left to fend for themselves, reports Mark Odell.

Turkish Airlines Twitter warned passengers in Saturday to check their flights were operating as its Twitter feed suggested things were returning to normal.

Turkish Airlines Twitter warned passengers in Saturday to check their flights were operating as its Twitter feed suggested things were returning to normal. One look at this graphic courtesy of Flight Radar 24 shows how few flights are operating today as opposed to yesterday before military units attempted to seize power.

https://twitter.com/flightradar24/status/754314037039685632

Most of the big international airlines had cancelled all flights into Istanbul and Ankara, with Lufthansa only serving Antalya and Bodrum, while British Airways and Emirates had cancelled all flights.

EasyJet, which does not serve either of Turkey’s two major cities said it would operate as normal to the tourist destinations it serves but would keep matters under review.

The US authorities, however, have banned all flights between the US and Turkey, including those that fly via a third country, in part no doubt over continuing security concerns.

https://twitter.com/TravelGov/status/754352151132909568

Istanbul’s Ataturk airport was hit by a triple suicide bomb attack at the end of June and reports during the coup last night suggested that after the rebel military units had gained control of the airport, security collapsed leaving people to roam freely throughout the facility including airside which is meant to be off limits to anyone who has not been through screening.

The disruption is likely to continue for the next couple of days at least so the best advice for anyone going to Turkey is to check before you travel.


Former air force commander arrested, to be tried for treason – reports

Developing news coming out of Turkey that Akın Öztürk, a former commander of the country’s airforce and alleged coup “mastermind” has been arrested, according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News and Sabah Daily news organisations. They report that he will be tried on charges of treason.

Erin Cunningham of the Washington Post also reports news of the arrest, citing presidential sources.

https://twitter.com/erinmcunningham/status/754355391044186112

In separate reports from local news, second in command to the army, general Adem Huduti, has also been detained by government forces.


Turkish opposition parties unite against coup

Turkey’s parliament held an extraordinary session earlier today, where the country’s main opposition parties rallied to defend democracy against the putschists.

“This country had suffered a lot from the coups. We do not these difficulties be repeated” said Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

He stressed that the CHP will protect the Republic and democracy, saying “It should be known that the CHP fully depends on the free will of the people as indispensable of our parliamentary democracy.”


How Facebook, WhatsApp and FaceTime won the counter coup

One of the most bizarre spectacles in an extraordinary night was arguably president Recep Tayip Erdogan’s appearance on CNN Turk via FaceTime in the late hours.

https://twitter.com/alexebarker/status/754069570923687936

At the time, many predicted the president’s failure to appear on national TV was a sign of his flailing grip on power as unfounded reports circulated that he was ready to flee Turkey to seek asylum in Germany.

But as events unfolded, the Erdogan machinery managed to blend traditional networks such as mosques which a mass social media and mobile technology presence to mobilise people onto the streets and scotch the putsch.

It was also an ironic twist for a man who had previously sought to shut down social media networks in a bid to clamp down on dissent.

Here’s a full account of how social media won the day from the FT’s Mehul Srivastava.


Erdogan emerges atop Istanbul bus

President Recep Tayip Erdogan has ditched FaceTime in favour of a more traditional open top bus outside is home in Istanbul. He’s due to address crowds any minute now.

More updates when we get them.


Erdogan: takes aim at Gulen and “foreign forces”

President Erdogan is addressing crowds in Istanbul’s Uskudar district right now and taken aim at “foreign forces” who are aiming to manipulate the coup.

There are foreign external forces who want to turn this nation against its armed forces. We must not be manipulated. These armed forces are our armed forces.We must own them.

This country suffered a lot in the hands of the Gulen Movement. They undermined Turkey’s reputation in Europe and the United States. I call on the United States and President Barack Obama. Dear Mr. President, I told you this before.

Either arrest Fethullah Gulen or return him to Turkey. You didn’t listen. I call on you again, after there was a coup attempt. Extradite this man in Pennsylvania to Turkey! If we are strategic partners or model partners, do what is necessary.

This endeavor did not end as they expected. We always said the strong isn’t always right but the right is always strong. We only bow to Allah.

There is no place for complacency. We must continue our togetherness. We must continue these gatherings and God Willing, our prime minister, our government, all the institutions of the state continue their work without a break. We have all stood upright.

The cheering crowds chanted God is Great as Mr Erdogan spoke, with prayers also ringing out from a nearby muezzin.


Erdogan: coup is a “gift from God”

President Erdogan has escalated his calls for the “head” of Fethulleh Gulen, the cleric his government accuses of masterminding the coup from his Pennsylvania home.

The combative president said:

We will not hand this country over to a few terrorists. We will fight this parallel state structure with our principle of a single state.

The operation of getting rid of them, of cleansing of our system, is underway.

We will go into their caves to dig them out. This is a gift of God from us. This incident has helped us identify who is who.

https://twitter.com/mutludc/status/754373080852537344


Defiant Turks pour onto the streets

A selection of some of the scenes around Istanbul this evening after President Erdogan has sought to rally the nation against suspected coup plotter and cleric, Fethulleh Gulen. It’s all a far cry from 12 hours ago when the first rumours of a coup were surfacing across Ankara and Istanbul.

https://twitter.com/Josiensor/status/754371929528729600

https://twitter.com/RazAkkoc/status/754375859126079488

https://twitter.com/humeyra_pamuk/status/754375393927434240

https://twitter.com/erinmcunningham/status/754359844631613440


Gulen speaks: Coup could have been staged

The man at the centre of today’s events has spoken to the FT, claiming the coup may have been a “staged” event.

Fethullah Gulen, the man accused by President Tayyip Erdogan of orchestrating the military coup that rocked Turkey, tried to move the spotlight against his political rival by suggesting that the ruling AKP party had staged the uprising., reports James Fontanella-Khan and Adam Samson in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

In a rare interview from his residence in rural Pennsylvania with the Financial Times and a small group of other reporters, a frail Mr Gulen said accusations against him by Mr Erdogan that he masterminded the coup were absolutely groundless.

“I don’t believe that the world takes the accusations made by president Erdogan (against me) seriously,” Mr Gulen said from a room inside his home at the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Center.

“There is a possibility that it could be a staged coup (by Mr Erdogan’s AKP) and it could be meant for further accusations (against the Gulenist and the military),” he said.

Nestled in the rolling hills of the Poconos, Mr Gulen said that he was not worried about being deported from America despite Turkey putting further pressure on the US government to extradite him in the aftermath of Friday’s coup attempt.

Mr Gulen said that Mr Erdogan’s calls for his extradition were just his latest bluff, as he compared the Turkish president and his political tactics to those of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis in Germany.

“It is very clear that there is intolerance among the leadership of the ruling party and the president,” Mr Gulen said, who spoke in Turkish and communicated with reporters thanks to the help of his translator.

“They have confiscated properties and media organisations, broken doors and harassed people in a fashion similar to Hitler’s SS forces,” Mr Gulen said, as he described how his followers in Turkey have been mistreated over the past few years by Mr Erdogan’s ruling party.

Meanwhile, in a sign of the rising tension, about a dozen people started assembling outside the compound around noon on Saturday, shattering the idyllic rural calm that usually surrounds the residence of the moderate Islamic preacher.


Summary: a putsch, a purge, and an extradition order

That’s almost all for today’s live coverage of the aftermath of an attempted military coup in Turkey – the first major attack to undermine a democratic government in just under two decades.

Here’s a summary of the day’s main developments.

- Turkish president Recep Tayip Erdogan has escalated his calls for the United States to either arrest or extradite the man his government accuses of masterminding the plot, 75-year old cleric Fethullah Gulen.

- Mr Gulen emerged from his home in the Poconos late on Saturday to tell the FT the coup may have been orchestrated by the ruling AKP government

- Ankara’s insurrectionary fears have spread to the judiciary where nearly 3000 judges have been sacked in an unprecedented purge that has also seen 100 senior officials arrested

- Latest death count stands at 265, included 161 civilians

- Eight suspected plotters who fled to Greece in search of asylum will be returned to Ankara according to Turkey’s foreign ministers

- Economists and analysts fear a sustained fall in the Turkish currency, which fell 5 per cent on Friday, could add to mounting economic pressures, while instability further depletes tourist revenues

That’s all for today. Thanks for joining.