Turkish officials say coup plotters being arrested
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the nation Saturday that his government was working to crush a coup attempt after a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire across the capital that left dozens dead and at least 150 people wounded.
Government officials said the coup appeared to have failed as Turks took to the streets overnight to confront troops attempting to take over the country. However, the sounds of huge blasts, including at least one bomb that hit the parliament complex, continued to ring out in the capital, Ankara, and Istanbul throughout the morning.
Speaking on national television from Istanbul, Erdogan said the government was arresting coup supporters in the military and warned “they will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey,” according to a transcript of his remarks provided by his office. “Those who stain the military’s reputation must leave. The process has started today and it will continue just as we fight other terrorist groups.”
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, said more than 120 arrests were made.
Erdogan, who said his general secretary had been abducted by the coup plotters, flew into Istanbul’s Ataturk airport early Saturday and was greeted by large crowds. Hours earlier, as the coup attempt got underway, his office declined to say where he was, and he was forced to give an interview over FaceTime to a television station.
AP EXPLAINS: The cleric being blamed for Turkey coup attempt
A lawyer for the Turkish government, Robert Amsterdam, said that “there are indications of direct involvement” in the coup attempt by Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who is living in exile in Pennsylvania. He said he and his firm “have attempted repeatedly to warn the U.S. government of the threat posed” by Gulen and his movement. According to Turkish intelligence sources, he said, “there are signs that Gulen is working closely with certain members of military leadership against the elected civilian government.”
The president of a group that promotes Gulen’s ideas, the New York-based Alliance for Shared Values, denied the charges. Y. Alp Aslandogan told The Associated Press “we categorically deny such accusations and find them to be highly irresponsible.” Earlier in the evening, the alliance said, “we condemn any military intervention in (the) domestic politics of Turkey.”
Some background on Gulen:
WHO IS FETHULLAH GULEN?
France calls up reservist forces after deadly Nice rampage
NICE, France (AP) — France called up thousands of reserve security forces Friday as authorities tried to determine why a Tunisian deliveryman known only to be a petty criminal took the wheel of a 19-ton truck and plunged through a terrified seaside crowd on Bastille Day, leaving 84 people dead and more than 200 wounded.
Witnesses described how Mohamed Bouhlel barreled his truck in a zigzag path down a crowded Nice promenade, aiming directly for children, for mothers pushing strollers and for families cowering behind plastic benches.
President Francois Hollande extended for three months a state of emergency that stretched back to the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and was claimed by the Islamic State group. It had been set to end July 26.
The government tapped its operational reserve of 25,000 — composed mainly of ex-military or former gendarmes — to relieve its tired officers and bolster border security.
Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais, at the heart of city life — and the killing path of the truck — became a place of grieving with bouquets of flowers piling up as residents, some with candles, paid tribute to the dead.
An out-of-place truck, then screams as Nice attack unfolded
NICE, France (AP) — Almost instantly, those in its murderous path could tell that the speeding white truck was all wrong so late at night on Nice’s beachfront boulevard whose bright lights glittered along the bay like a string of stars.
The Promenade des Anglais was meant to be closed to traffic, cordoned off with metal barriers and plastic tape, so families and tourists could stroll worry-free beside the azure waters of the Mediterranean and marvel at the Bastille Day fireworks.
The truck sped straight for them, slowing at times, accelerating at others, leaving death, screams and horrific injuries in its wake.
“I realized right away it was a terrorist attack when I saw the truck crushing people,” said Antonio Arribas, who was with his cousin, Diego.
The rented 19-ton (21 U.S.-ton) truck zigzagged for 2 kilometers (1¼ miles) through holiday crowds like a snow plow, leaving a gruesome trail of crushed and mangled bodies. The 84 dead included French and foreigners, children and adults.
Pence wins Trump’s vote; GOP team addresses America Saturday
WASHINGTON (AP) — After frenzied, final decision-making, Donald Trump announced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate Friday, adding an experienced politician with deep Washington connections to the Republican presidential ticket.
Trump’s pick was aimed in part at easing some Republicans’ concerns about his temperament and lack of political experience. Pence spent 12 years in Congress before being elected governor and his demeanor is as calm as Trump’s is fiery. While some conservatives are skeptical of Trump’s political leanings, Pence has been a stalwart ally on social issues.
Yet Pence is largely unknown to many Americans. And his solidly conventional political background runs counter to Trump’s anti-establishment mantra.
The two men scheduled a news conference for Saturday in New York to present themselves to America as the Republican team that will take on Hillary Clinton and her Democratic running mate in November. The duo will head to Cleveland next week for the Republican National Convention.
As Pence arrived for a private meeting with Trump Friday, he told reporters he “couldn’t be more happy for the opportunity to run with and serve with the next president of the United States.”
Secret chapter of 9/11 inquiry released after 13-year wait
WASHINGTON (AP) — Newly declassified pages from a congressional report into 9/11 released Friday have reignited speculation that some of the hijackers had links to Saudis, including government officials — allegations that were never substantiated by later U.S. investigations into the terrorist attacks.
Congress released the last chapter of the congressional inquiry that has been kept under wraps for more than 13 years, stored in a secure room in the basement of the Capitol. Lawmakers and relatives of victims of the attacks, who believe that Saudi links to the attackers were not thoroughly investigated, campaigned for years to get the pages released.
The lightly redacted document names individuals who helped the hijackers get apartments, open bank accounts and connect with local mosques. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals and several were not fluent in English and had little experience living in the West.
Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, the co-chairman of the congressional inquiry, who pushed hard for the last chapter of the inquiry’s report to be released, believes the hijackers had an extensive Saudi support system while they were in the United States.
Saudi Arabia itself has urged the release of the chapter since 2002 so the kingdom could respond to any allegations.
DIVIDED AMERICA: Issues and images of Americans’ daily lives
A woman sleeps in her car, waiting to receive free dental care at a clinic in rural Virginia. Another peers though a fence at the Mexican border to see the grandmother she left behind 18 years before, when she was brought to the United States as a toddler.
Health care and immigration are two of the most contentious issues of this most contentious election year, but they are not merely grist for politics and politicians. Americans like these women, Lesia Crigger and Eva Lara, are dealing with them in nearly every moment of their everyday lives.
A team of Associated Press photographers traversed the country to record those moments. Each set out to capture a single, intimate image to illustrate the human side of immigration, the economy, the environment, gun rights, social values like abortion, gay rights and conservative Christian beliefs, and race.
The result: A mosaic of a people at a singular time, struggling to extend the American project through the treacherous shoals of the 21st century.
Mickelson shines in wind and rain, keeps British Open lead
TROON, Scotland (AP) — Phil Mickelson wore a black rain suit that he didn’t need until he approached the far end of Royal Troon and already had stretched his lead. Henrik Stenson opened the curtains at his house expecting to see rain coming down sideways and was pleasantly surprised by the calm.
Good golf and the good end of the draw is tough to beat in the British Open.
Mickelson hit a wedge that spun back toward the cup until it stopped about two postage stamps away on the par-3 eighth hole, the signature shot in his 2-under 69 that allowed him to back up his record-tying start and take the 36-hole lead in a major for the first time in three years.
“I thought it was a good round to back up the low round yesterday,” Mickelson said. “I played kind of stress-free golf again. I made one or two bad swings that led to bogeys. But for the most part, kept the ball in play.”
He just couldn’t shake Stenson, who timed his birdies perfectly.
Brady to drop appeal, serve 4-game ‘Deflategate’ suspension
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Tom Brady said Friday he will not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to block his four-game “Deflategate” suspension, ending his fight in a scandal that tested the power of the NFL commissioner and tarnished the reputation of one of the sport’s greatest players.
“It has been a challenging 18 months and I have made the difficult decision to no longer proceed with the legal process,” the New England Patriots quarterback said in a Facebook post . “I’m going to work hard to be the best player I can be for the New England Patriots and I look forward to having the opportunity to return to the field this fall.”
The decision by the four-time Super Bowl champion comes two days after his case was turned aside by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Brady’s only remaining hope to take the field when the Patriots open the season against Arizona on Sept. 11 had been a stay from the nation’s highest court, which accepts about 1 percent of the appeals submitted.
More worrisome for Brady and the Patriots, though, was the chance that he would receive a stay — which would require only the blessing of a single Supreme Court justice, in this case Ruth Bader Ginsburg — only to have the whole court later refuse to hear the case. That could allow the suspension to fall at a more inconvenient time in the season, perhaps including the playoffs.
“This decision was made in the interest of certainty and planning for Tom prior to the New England Patriots season,” the NFL Players Association said in a statement Friday.
Obama: All parties in Turkey should support Erdogan gov’t
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday urged all sides in Turkey to support the democratically elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid a military takeover of the key NATO ally.
In a statement issued after a meeting with his national security advisers, Obama also urged everyone in Turkey to show restraint and avoid violence or bloodshed.
Members of Turkey’s armed forces declared hours earlier that they had taken control of the country as explosions, gunfire and a reported air battle between loyalist forces and supporters of the coup erupted in Ankara, the capital. Erdogan called on the Turkish people to flood the streets in a show of support for his embattled government.
Turkey plays a key role in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group. American jets use its Incirlik air base to fly missions against the extremists in Syria and Iraq.
Obama discussed the developments by telephone with Secretary of State John Kerry, who was traveling in Moscow for separate meetings with senior Russian officials on Syria.