Turkey’s government appears to have been overthrown in a coup, as the military claimed taking control over the country.
Heavily armed soldiers and military vehicles closed the two main bridges in Istanbul Friday evening, and while low-flying military jets could be heard overhead.
Tanks have been posted outside Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport and in other locations in the city.Access to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube is being blocked, while the state-owned TRT television has gone off the air, according to reports from inside Turkey.
“Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command,” Prime Minister Bulent Yildirim said, in comments broadcast by private channel NTV.
President Recep Erdogan is reportedly on vacation in the southern Turkish resort town of Bodrum. His status is currently unknown.
Tanks have been posted outside Istanbul’s Ataturk International Airport, while armored vehicles were photographed outside TRT offices.
Dorian Jones a British journalist based in Istanbul said:
“Tanks are seen in the streets. There are reports of clashes between the police and the army,” adding there were also reports that police guarding the presidential palace had been disarmed.
“I have been speaking to various friends across the city, some are reporting that they are hearing gunfire in the streets.”
Reports on Turkish state news agency that the country’s top general ‘held hostage’ at military HQ.
“General Hulusi Akar has been taken hostage by a group in the military who attempted an uprising,” the agency said citing “credible sources”
Turkey’s currency has suffered its heaviest fall in two months as investors took fright at a coup by the country’s military.
The lira plunged as much as 3.8pc to 2.9901 against the dollar as money managers took fright at reports Turkey’s army had taken control of Ankara, the capital.
US Treasuries, a classic safe-haven investment, were in demand on Friday evening, with yields on American debt falling four basis points to 1.552pc. Bond yields move inversely to prices.
Timothy Ghriskey, of Solaris Asset Management, told Bloomberg: “The financial markets react very quickly to headlines like these, and it’s all about reducing risk.”
A source from the presidential office has told Reuters that Erdogan is “safe”.