UPDATE: According to both the Prime Minister and the President of Turkey the attempted coup has now been quashed with some 2,839 soldiers, including officers arrested and possibly facing a death sentence.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in a statement referred to Friday night as a “black stain on Turkish democracy”, leaving 161 people dead and 1,440 wounded.
President Erdogan was in the south-west holiday resort of Marmaris at the time. He made a televised address to the nation, via his mobile phone, urging people to take to the streets to oppose the uprising which many did and he flew immediately to Istanbul and on arrival is reported as saying “What is being perpetrated is treason and a rebellion. They will pay a heavy price.”
Nations around the world have expressed support for the elected government and it appears that there are some 50,000 British tourists in Turkey at the moment who have been advised by the Foreign Office to stay within their hotels and wait for things to calm down.
ALTHOUGH information is sparse, it is clear that an attempted coup has taken place in Turkey on the evening of July 15 and whilst the Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım dismissed it on a private TV station as a failed attempt by junior officers, representatives of the military coup have appeared on State TV declaring that they have succeeded in order to ensure that Turkey continues to move towards becoming a democratic state.
The airports in both Ankara and Istanbul have been closed to traffic and both police and troops are guarding various bridges and access points in the main cities in Turkey. The BBC World Service has suggested that Turkish military commanders in Ankara have been seized during the coup which if successful will be the first since 1980 which resulted in the arrest of no less than 650,000 people.
Shots have been heard in both Ankara and Istanbul and this attempt regardless of whether it is successful must delight both the Kurds and Daesh, both groups having apparently been involved in acts of terrorism in Turkey over the past few months.
Those who oppose Turkish membership of the EU will see this as a perfect example of why the country is not a suitable member and many will call for the immediate removal of the offer to allow Turkish citizens to enter EU states without a visa.
The next few hours will tell whether the current government has managed to keep control or whether a new body will govern this enormous country which straddles Europe and Asia. One thing is certain, regardless of the result, their dwindling tourist industry will take an even greater knock and the people of Turkey will have to wait and see whether their country will continue to be run on a secular basis or will consider a more conservative and possibly religious future.