ANKARA (AA) – Coup plotters will pay for the chaos they have caused and Turkey will never surrender to ”occupiers”, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday.
”This is a movement of treason and an insurgency. Let me tell you that they will pay a heavy price for this treason,” Erdogan told TV networks during a live broadcast from Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport.
”There is a government in power and a president in power elected by the people. We are on duty and we will continue to conduct our duty until the very end,” Erdogan said, assuring the country that ”the outcome of this will be good.”
Erdogan said earlier that a small group within the Turkish army mounted a military coup attempt, acting illegally and out of the chain of command.
The president also warned soldiers participating in the overthrow. ”You are our soldiers. It is impossible for us to accept you pointing your gun at the people, your parents, your brothers and sisters. These weapons have been given to you by the people. If you point these to the people, you will pay a hefty price.”
Arrests in the military would go higher up the ranks, he said.
A chaotic night began late Friday with reports of soldiers trying to wrestle control of bridges and key functions in major cities, and turned into a nightmare when army helicopters began airstrikes and shelled key locations in the capital, Ankara.
Bombs struck near the Turkish Grand Assembly, witnesses said, injuring 12 people, and leaving two in critical condition.
Airborne shelling at several locations including the ruling AK Party headquarters, the presidential complex and the General Staff have been reported.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim later announced a no-fly zone has been enforced above Ankara, adding that army commanders, including Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar, are on duty and working to stop the illegal military action.
Yildirim said there was “no doubt coup-plotters would fail”, calling on leaders to “return from their mistake” while describing the attempt as “idiotic” and “craziness”.
Erdogan, who earlier identified the group behind the coup as FETO/PDY terrorist organization, said the uprising would help the army cleanse itself of their influence. The FETO/PDY three years ago staged an unsuccessful overthrow of the government.
Erdogan said coup plotters chose to carry out this new attack because they were afraid of being exposed during a Supreme Military Council meeting, scheduled for August.
The president also said his secretary had been abducted and a previous undisclosed location he stopped by before arriving in Istanbul had been bombed.