Normalcy returning to Turkey hours after national chaos
Authorities regained control of Turkey on Saturday, reopening the airport and launching an investigation, just hours after an attempted military coup threatened to overthrow president Erdogan.
With at least 2,839 soldiers detained in a relentless sweep targeting coup plotters across the country, Turkish officials said they recaptured control and successfully thwarted the coup attempt that claimed more than 250 lives overnight.
"The situation is completely under control," Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said outside his Ankara offices, flanked by Turkey's top general who had himself been taken hostage by the plotters.
Bridges reopened to traffic and Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport opened its doors after authorities announced the recommencement of some flights.
The Turkish parliament is currently convening an extraordinary session to discuss the aftermath of the coup, amid reports of large crowds outside the battered parliament building.
Describing the attempted coup as a "black stain" on Turkey's democracy, Yildirim said 161 people had been killed in the night of violence and 1,440 wounded.
This toll did not appear to include 104 rebel soldiers killed overnight, bringing the overall death toll from the bloodshed to 265.
|Bridges reopened to traffic and Istanbul's Ataturk International Airport opened its doors after authorities announced the recommencement of some flights|
Meanwhile, US secretary of state, John Kerry invited Erdogan to provide evidence to back claims that US-based exiled cleric, Fethullah Gulen was behind the coup.
World leaders, including US president Barack Obama, stood in solidarity with the "democratically-elected civilian government" as the events unfolded.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg welcomed what he called the "strong support shown by the people and all political parties to democracy and to the democratically elected government of Turkey," a key member of the alliance.
"Everything must be done to protect human lives," said a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he hoped Turkish democracy will "emerge stronger."
On Saturday morning, Erdogan urged supporters to remain on the streets to prevent a possible flare-up, just hours after landing in Istanbul to be welcomed by hundreds of supporters.
Large crowds of flag-waving supporters had taken to the streets on Friday night after the military announced a coup via state television channels. Despite a military-imposed curfew, protesting and resistance by Turkish civilians forced the coup to overturn within just hours.