Live From Turkey: Soldiers Everywhere; Possible Military Coup
See below for updates to this developing story.
Izmir, Turkey: The Turkish military claims to have overthrown President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In an official statement, the military adds that its first priority right now is to uphold the rule of law.
My Turkish wife and I spent the last hour and a half walking back home from my in-laws' home. There was nothing to see on the streets of Izmir -- the third largest city in Turkey with a large Navy presence -- except the usual: a few Syrian beggars and normal Turks enjoying the warm weather (and a drink).
When I arrived home, however, the telephone suddenly rang. I also received several notifications: a military coup was supposedly taking place in Turkey. According to some media reports, police officers are being disarmed by soldiers. There are also many photos and videos of Turkish tanks and airplanes driving through and flying above Ankara and Istanbul, respectively the nation's capital and its largest city.
The Turkish prime minister, Binali Yıldırım, has gone on record calling the military action "an uprising." He told broadcaster NTV in a phone call, "This cannot be called a coup for the moment. This is an uprising."
Chances are that Yıldırım called it an "uprising" because he wants to belittle those trying to stage the coup. If they fail, he'll be heralded as the man who kept calm under pressure, but if the coup succeeds, he'll undoubtedly be known as Turkey's version of Baghdad Bob.
And we've got some bad news for him. The military has just released a statement saying President Erdoğan has been overthrown.
In a statement, the Turkish military says the rule of law must remain the priority.
"The power in the country has been seized in its entirety," said the military statement read on NTV television, without giving further details. The military's website was not immediately accessible.
News channels will almost certainly be taken down, and chances are the internet will also soon disappear. If that happens, I won't be able to report live. But until that happens, I'll do my best to share the latest developments.
Since I'm in Turkey, I'm trying to follow the news as closely as possible. Ironically, that's extremely difficult to do because broadcasters and newspapers don't want to make mistakes. I'm sure they are also afraid of doing something the eventual winner -- Erdogan and his allies or the military -- will find disagreeable... and they also don't know everything that's going on.
Next page: Live updates to this developing story.