The Latest: Turkish PM: We dedicate this day to democracy


ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on the attempted military coup in Turkey (all times local):

6:30 p.m.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says July 15 will be remembered as “a festival for democracy,” the day when those who carried out a coup against the people were hit by a coup themselves.

Speaking to parliament in their its session since the revolt Friday, Yildirim says “These are not soldiers, they are ravenous terrorist butchers in uniforms.” The prime minister warned Saturday that anyone who tried to harm the will of the people will be “reminded of those coup plotters, whose lives have been snuffed out.”

Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s main opposition party, used his speech to call for greater democracy in Turkey, and said the coup attempt had also shown the importance of freedom of speech.

Kilicdargolu says “this event has united us on a common ground, and that common ground is our dedication to the republic and democracy. But democracy isn’t just the law of the rulers, but the rule of law.”

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5:10 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says she condemns the coup attempt in Turkey, saying democratic institutions must be respected.

Merkel told reporters at the chancellery in Berlin on Saturday that it was “tragic that so many people paid for this coup attempt with their lives” and urged an end to the bloodshed.

She said “Germany stands on the side of all of those in Turkey who defend democracy and the rule of law.”

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6: p.m.

Romania’s foreign ministry says border crossings between Turkey and Bulgaria have been reopened following the failed coup attempt in Turkey.

The ministry said it had been informed by European Union border agency Frontex on Saturday about the border situation between Bulgaria and Turkey.

Earlier Saturday, the Bulgarian foreign ministry said Turkey had closed three border crossings with Bulgaria. The border crossings from Bulgarian side remained open. EU-member Bulgaria has a 260-kilometer (163-mile) border with Turkey.

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5:45 p.m.

One of Syria’s most powerful militant groups has praised Turkey and its democratic institutions after the government quashed an attempted military coup.

The ultraconservative Ahrar al-Sham group said that by quashing the coup, Turkey confirms that it is “the hope of the Muslim nation and oppressed people throughout the world.”

The political faction of the group that is close to Turkey says the Turkish people will not be subdued anymore to “tyranny and will not be ruled by the military.” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government has been among the strongest backers of Syrian rebels trying to remove President Bashar Assad from power.

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5:20 p.m.

Hundreds of people waving Turkish flags have gathered outside of the parliament in Ankara to protest the coup attempt as legislators prepare to hold an emergency session.

In an unprecedented show of unity, all four parties represented in parliament are expected to issue a joint declaration Saturday condemning the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.

The extraordinary session began with a minute of silence in honor of those who lost their lives during the coup, followed by the singing of the national anthem. Officials say 161 civilians or pro-government security forces were killed during the coup, along with an undetermined number of coup plotters.

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4:55 p.m.

A U.S. defense official says that the Turkish government had closed the airspace around Incirlik air base for a few hours, but it has reopened. U.S. aircraft that were on missions could return to the base but could not take off until the base reopened.

The U.S. has Air Force A-10 attack planes based there for close air support missions over Syria and Iraq. The defense official, in Kabul, was not authorized to discuss the Incirlik situation by name.

Also, electric power at Incirlik has been interrupted. The reason is not clear.

— By Robert Burns, AP National Security Writer

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4:45 p.m.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the United States would entertain an extradition request for exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey’s president blames for a failed coup.

But Kerry adds Turkey’s government would have to present evidence of Gulen’s wrongdoing that withstands scrutiny.

While visiting Luxembourg, Kerry says Turkey hasn’t made a request to extradite the Pennsylvania-based Gulen. But he says he anticipates questions about Gulen, who has condemned the coup attempt.

Kerry says on Saturday the U.S. opposed any attempt to overthrow a democratically elected leader. He says change must come through a constitutional process.

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4:20 p.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says authorities have detained 10 members of Turkey’s highest administrative court as the government appeared to press ahead with a purge of judiciary officials with alleged links to a U.S.-based Muslim cleric.

The Anadolu Agency said Saturday that arrest warrants were issued for 48 administrative court members and 140 members of Turkey’s appeals court. Earlier, Anadolu said a body overseeing judges and prosecutors in Turkey has dismissed 2,745 judges across Turkey.

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4:00 p.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says five warships which reportedly set sail during the attempted coup have returned to their military port in northwest Turkey. The Anadolu Agency says Saturday the five frigates and one corvette arrived at the military naval installation at Golcuk on Saturday. The report said it was not clear whether Navy Fleet Commander Admiral Veysel Kosele, whose whereabouts were not known, was aboard one of the ships.

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3:45 p.m.

The Greek government says a Turkish Blackhawk helicopter will be returned to Turkey “as soon as possible” but it will examine the asylum demand made by eight military personnel who were arrested after landing Saturday.

Spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili says: “The government is in contact with the Turkish authorities for…the return of the military helicopter as soon as possible.”

As for the eight military passengers, “we will follow the procedures of international law. However, we give very serious considerations to the fact that (the Turkish military men) are accused, in their country, of violating the constitutional order and trying to overthrow democracy,” she added.

Greek police say that the eight arrested Turks include two majors, four captains and two sergeants first class. This differs from Turkish sources that said they were two majors, a captain sand five privates.

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3:35 p.m.

NTV television has shown footage of a Turkish colonel and other soldiers being taken into custody at military headquarters.

The video shows them being hand-searched by special forces police, their hands behind their heads. Some are later seen kneeling on the ground, their hands still held behind their heads.

According to Hurriyet newspaper’s online edition, some of the privates who were detained told interrogators they were not aware that they were part of a coup attempt. They had been told by commanders they were taking part in military maneuvers. Some said they understood that it was a coup attempt when they saw civilians climb on tanks.

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3:15 p.m.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency says all soldiers involved in the attempted coup at the military headquarters in the capital, Ankara, have been taken into custody.

The report says anti-terrorism police will now conduct a “detailed search” at the headquarters.

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3:10 p.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says a top body overseeing judges and prosecutors has dismissed 2,745 judges across the country.

Anadolu Agency says the emergency meeting of the Judges and Prosecutors High Council was held Saturday, hours after Turkish forces quashed an attempted coup.

The report said the meeting was called to discuss disciplinary measures against members suspected of links to the movement led by the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. The government says the attempted coup was carried out by a clique within the military loyal to Gulen’s movement.

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2:55 p.m.

Leaders of Turkey’s religious communities have released a joint statement condemning the attempted coup.

The statement from representatives of the Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities declares “our great sorrow over the terrorist attacks that disturb the peace of our great nation and of the world.”

The signatories include the president of Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs, Istanbul Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomeos and the Chief rabbi of Turkey’s Jewish community.

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2:45 p.m.

Italy’s foreign minister says his Turkish counterpart has defined the coup attempt in Turkey as “terroristic.”

The Italian foreign ministry says in a statement Saturday that Minister Paolo Gentiloni spoke by phone with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The statement said the Turkish minister, who spoke from the capital, Ankara, confirmed the “failure of the attempt that he termed terroristic.”

The statement also said the Italian foreign minister expressed “satisfaction that popular mobilization and defense of the institutions prevailed” in Turkey.

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2:30 p.m.

Turkey’s Dogan news agency is reporting that two majors, a captain and five privates have requested asylum in Greece after landing in a military helicopter.

Greece’s defense ministry has said a Blackhawk helicopter carrying seven Turkish military personnel and one civilian landed in the city of Alexandroupolis earlier Saturday.

The passengers asked for asylum and were arrested for illegal entry into Greece.

The state-run Anadolu Agency has quoted Turkey’s foreign minister as demanding “the immediate return of the eight treacherous officers.”

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1:55 p.m.

NATO’s chief says all alliance personnel and military units in Turkey are “safe and secure” following the attempted coup.

Jens Stoltenberg, the NATO secretary-general, said Saturday he had spoken to NATO’s supreme commander, U.S. Army Gen. Curtis M. Scapparrotti.

“He confirms that all NATO personnel and units in Turkey are safe and secure,” Stoltenberg said in a post on Twitter.

The alliance chief also tweeted that he welcomed “the strong support shown by the people and all political parties to democracy and to the democratically elected gov of Turkey.”

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1:35 p.m.

Gaza’s Hamas rulers have congratulated Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for quashing an attempted military coup.

The Islamic militant group condemned the attempt as a “vicious” plot to overthrow Erdogan.

The Turkish leader has been a staunch supporter of Hamas and a fierce critic of Israel. Hamas supporters took to the streets in several places across the Gaza Strip to celebrate the coup’s failure, raising Turkish flags and posters bearing Erdogan’s image.

Turkey recently restored ties with Israel after a six-year lull following a deadly Israeli naval raid to stop an activist flotilla aiming to breach the Gaza blockade.

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1:30 p.m.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says Turkey has demanded the extradition of officers who went to Greece, NTV television reports.

Greece’s defense ministry says seven military personnel and one civilian have landed there in a Blackhawk military helicopter and asked for asylum. They were arrested for illegal entry.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency quotes Cavusoglu as saying that “we have demanded the immediate return of the eight treacherous officers who fled to Greece by helicopter.”

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1:15 p.m.

Greece’s defense ministry says a Blackhawk military helicopter carrying seven Turkish military personnel and one civilian has landed at the airport in the city of Alexandroupolis in northeastern Greece.

The passengers have asked for asylum. They were arrested for illegal entry into Greece.

The ministry says the helicopter gave a distress signal at 10:45 a.m. local time and landed six minutes later.

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1:05 p.m.

The Turkish Cypriot leader says commanders of Turkish troops deployed in the breakaway north of ethnically divided Cyprus remain loyal to Turkey’s military command and that the coup attempt has “no effect” on the Mediterranean island.

Mustafa Akinci told Turkish Cypriot broadcaster BRT on Saturday that authorities “have taken a variety of precautionary measures to prevent provocations” in the north and that military commanders “are carrying out their duties within the chain of command.”

Akinci says problems can only be resolved through democratic means.

Turkey maintains more than 35,000 troops in the north of Cyprus since 1974, when the island was split after Turkey invaded in the wake of a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

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1 p.m.

The head of the Turkish community in Germany is condemning the coup attempt in his homeland but says the government should take it as an opportunity to open dialogue with opponents.

Gokay Sofuoglu was quoted Saturday by the Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger newspaper as saying it was significant that “all parties, even though they usually argue, unanimously rejected the coup.”

“The government would be well-advised to see this as a chance to talk with others,” Sofuoglu said. “Because the parties have not talked with one another for a long time.”

Germany is home to about 3 million Turks or people of Turkish origin, and thousands took to the streets in Berlin and elsewhere late Friday to protest the coup.

Meanwhile, countries are condemning the coup and expressing support for Turkey’s government, including Afghanistan, Albania and Kosovo.

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12:35 p.m.

Turkish Prime Minister Benali Yildirim says 161 people were killed in the country’s overnight military coup attempt. He says another more than 1,400 people were wounded in the chaos. More than 2,800 people have been detained.

He described the night as a “dark stain for Turkish democracy” and pinned blame for the coup on the “parallel terrorist organization.”

That term is used by authorities to describe the movement of U.S.-based Islamist cleric Fethullah Gulen.

“They will receive every punishment they deserve,” the prime minister said, noting the perpetrators were now in the hands of the justice system.

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12:30 p.m.

Georgia has ordered its border with Turkey closed amid the instability from a military coup attempt.

Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili said the country’s security council on Saturday discussed “threats that might arise to Georgia” from the situation and said both land and air borders had been closed.

The former Soviet republic shares a 252-kilometer (152-mile) border with Turkey.

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12:25 p.m.

Turkey’s Anadolu Agency reports that authorities have issued an alarm to border gates and airports upon being informed that prominent members of the Gulen Movement, including journalists, might flee the country following the overnight attempted military coup.

The report says authorities discovered the plans after lists were found detailing the commanders and their deputies to be put in charge during the period of martial law if the coup had succeeded.

Turkey’s acting chief of the general staff, Gen. Umit Dundar, said Saturday that the military is determined to purge members of the movement of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania, from the ranks.

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12:10 p.m.

Countries are lining up to condemn the overnight military coup attempt in Turkey.

Spain’s acting foreign minister, Jose Manuel Garcia Margallo, tells Spanish national television that his government completely supports the Turkish government headed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

He says “we condemn all coups without reservation.”

And the Gulf nation of Qatar, which has close ties to Erdogan’s government, said it supports all legal measures Turkey’s government takes to maintain security and stability.

The official Qatar News Agency reported Saturday that the ruling emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, has spoken with Erdogan by phone to express Qatar’s support.

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11:55 a.m.

Turkey’s Anadolu Agency is reporting that soldiers who have taken over the Chief of General Staff Headquarters as part of an attempted coup have requested negotiations to surrender.

According to a Turkish official at the presidency, that is the last base the coup supporters hold.

Turkey has announced that more than 1,500 soldiers have been arrested in the coup attempt overnight.

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11:50 a.m.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier is condemning the coup attempt in Turkey, calling on all parties to respect democratic order and avoid further bloodshed.

Steinmeier said in a statement Saturday that Germany is “deeply concerned” about the developments overnight.

He says he condemns “any attempts to change the democratic order in Turkey by force.”

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11:45 a.m.

British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says he has spoken to his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, to underline support for Turkey’s “democratic elected government and institutions” after an overnight coup attempt.

The Foreign Office is advising Britons in Turkey to “stay indoors, avoid public places, in particular demonstrations, and remain vigilant.”

It says “the situation now appears quieter in Istanbul, and the bridges across the Bosphorus are reopening. But there are reports of tank fire and small arms fire in Ankara.”

British Airways says it is canceling all flights to and from Turkey on Saturday, but budget airline easyJet says it plans to run its scheduled flights, largely to Turkish resort towns.

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11:30 a.m.

Turkey’s acting chief of the general staff says 1,563 soldiers have been arrested in the attempted military coup overnight.

The newly appointed Gen. Umit Dundar says those who took part in the betrayal will not go unpunished.

He says those who “sided with democracy and the rule of law” thwarted the attempt.

Dundar says Turkey’s military is determined to purge members of the movement of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who is living in exile in Pennsylvania, from the ranks.

“Our people should have no concern, that the era of coups and juntas have come to a close, never to be opened again,” Dundar says.

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11:20

Gen. Umit Dundar, the newly appointed acting chief of the general staff, said more than 190 people died in clashes: 41 police officers, two soldiers, 47 civilians and 104 people described as “coup plotters.”

Dundar said officers from the Air Force, the military police and the armored units were mainly involved in the attempt.

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10:45 a.m.

Iran says the attempted military coup in Turkey was “doomed to fail.”

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by the official IRNA news agency as praising the “brave defense by the people of Turkey of their democracy and elected government.”

Zarif said the events in neighboring Turkey prove “that coup d’etat has no place and is doomed to fail in our region.”

And Pakistan has condemned the coup attempt, with an aide to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif saying in a statement that Pakistan “hopes that peace and normalcy will be restored.”

Pakistan’s main political parties have also praised the people of Turkey for foiling the coup.

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10:35 a.m.

The exiled Syrian opposition has congratulated the Turkish people for halting an attempted military coup.

The Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition says in a statement that Turkey has protected its democratic institutions “in the face of dark and desperate attempts that sought to take control of the popular will.”

It says the Turkish people value democracy and “will not let a group of putschists take it away in a desperate attempt to restore military rule.”

Turkey has been one of the main backers of the uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad and is hosting some 2.7 million Syrian refugees.

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10:05 a.m.

Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, is seeking to contact his Turkish counterpart Saturday morning from Kabul, Afghanistan.

That’s according to Dunford’s spokesman, Navy Capt. Gregory Hicks.

Dunford is in Afghanistan to meet with U.S. and Afghan troops and commanders. He compressed his schedule Saturday in order to be available for consultations with Washington about the situation in Turkey, which has troops in Afghanistan as part of the U.S.-led coalition.

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10 a.m.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency has raised the number of dead in the attempted coup to some 90 with 1,154 wounded.

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9:45 a.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says some 200 unarmed soldiers have left Turkey’s military headquarters in the capital Ankara and have surrendered to police.

It isn’t immediately clear if those 200 are among 1,563 military personnel who have been reported detained across Turkey as the government cracks down on the attempted coup.

At least 60 people, most of them civilians, have been killed in violence.

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9:40 a.m.

A senior Turkish official says a total of 1,563 military personnel have been detained across Turkey as the government cracks down on the attempted coup.

The official says most of those arrested lower ranks.

The official was communicating with the media on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.

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8:35 a.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says military chief of staff Gen. Hulusi Akar has been rescued in an operation launched at an air base in the outskirts of Ankara.

Anadolu Agency says the general is being taken to a safe location.

Broadcaster CNN-Turk said that Akar was taken hostage at military headquarters in Ankara and transported by helicopter to Akincilar Air Base.

CNN-Turk says Akar would now take over the command of the operation against the coup plotters.

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8:20 a.m.

Turkey’s Police Chief Celalettin Lekesiz says 16 coup plotters have been killed in clashes at Turkey’s military police command.

In comments carried by the state-run Anadolu Agency Saturday, Lekesiz says 250 others have been arrested. He says clashes at the command are continuing but “are about to come to an end.”

The report says Gen. Memduh Hakbilen, the chief of staff of Turkey’s command for the Aegean region, is among those arrested.

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7:45 a.m.

State-run Anadolu Agency is reporting 754 members of the armed forces have been detained across Turkey in the wake of the attempted coup.

Anadolu says that at the Etimesgut armored units training command, in the outskirts of Ankara, some soldiers who took part in the coup attempt were arrested by fellow officers or soldiers and handed over to police.

Even as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the coup is being crushed and arrests made, it is not clear who is in control of military headquarters in Ankara. Erdogan has not left the Istanbul airport as dawn broke Saturday.

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7:15 a.m.

An official in the president’s office says at least 60 people have been killed in the attempted coup.

The official also says 336 people, most of them soldiers, have been arrested across Turkey. Most of the dead are civilians.

The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, quoted by state-run Anadolu Agency, says security forces have “achieved results in many places” and defeated coup plotters. That includes the National Intelligence Agency, police and government buildings.

He says: “There is nowhere they have they have proper control. God willing they will be defeated in the remaining areas and those in the air will be brought down.”

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7 a.m.

CNN-Turk is quoting Prime Minister Binali Yildirim as saying that commander of Turkey’s 1st Army, Gen. Umit Dundar, has been appointed acting chief of military staff.

Earlier President Erdogan said he had no information concerning Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar, who was reportedly taken hostage at the military headquarters by coup plotters.

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6:50 a.m.

CNN-Turk is showing images of dozens of soldiers giving themselves up to government forces on Istanbul’s Bosporus Bridge.

They’re walking among tanks with their hands held up.

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6:45 a.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says a military helicopter used by coup plotters has been shot down.

The Anadolu Agency says Saturday the helicopter was brought down in the Golbasi district, in the outskirts of Ankara.

The report says the helicopter was used to attack Turkey’s satellite station Turksat.

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6:40 a.m.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has addressed thousands of flag-waving supporters outside Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport and tells them he is charge and coup won’t succeed.

Erdogan says: “They have pointed the people’s guns against the people. The president, whom 52 percent of the people brought to power, is in charge. This government brought to power by the people, is in charge. They won’t succeed as long as we stand against them by risking everything.”

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6:30 a.m.

European Council President Donald Tusk says the EU fully supports Turkey’s democratically elected government, in the wake of the attempted coup that left scores dead and wounded.

Speaking in Mongolia at the Asia-Europe summit meeting, Tusk says “Turkey is a key partner for the European Union. The EU fully supports the democratically elected government, the institutions of the country and the rule of law.”

He also called for a swift return to Turkey’s constitutional order.

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6:10 a.m.

Turkish broadcaster CNN-Turk is back on air after police apparently entered the building and arrested soldiers who had taken it over. CNN-Turk showed police taking away a soldier with his hands bound behind his back with wire.

The station also showed the moment five soldiers, who appeared to be conscripts, enter the building brandishing machine guns and telling employees to vacate the building.

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5:50 a.m.

State-run Anadolu Agency says Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has called all legislators for an emergency meeting on Saturday.

Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman earlier said that a bomb hit one corner of a public relations building inside the parliament complex, injuring some police officers.

He said there were no fatalities and that all legislators were safe at a parliamentary shelter.

Troops loyal to the government are moving to crush the coup attempt, arresting some 130 anti-government forces. A helicopter was flying over the area where the parliament is located and shots were being fired.

A source at the presidency told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that 13 military officers who had earlier tried to forcibly enter the presidential palace were among those arrested.

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5:30 a.m.

NTV television is quoting the prosecutor’s office in Ankara saying at least 42 people have been killed in “attacks” in the capital.

According to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, the number of soldiers who were arrested in the coup plot has increased to 130.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier said that the coup plot will fail.

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5:10 a.m.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, speaking to state-run Anadolu Agency, says more than 120 people have been arrested in a coup plot.

He says: “Things are getting better every minute.”

Yildirim called on people to remain in the streets to support the government against coup plotters and appealed for patience.

He says a few air force planes flown by coup plotters still remain in the air. He has earlier ordered those aircraft shot down.

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5 a.m.

A lawyer for the Turkish government says “there are indications of direct involvement” in the coup attempt of a cleric who is living in exile in Pennsylvania.

Robert Amsterdam said in a statement Friday evening that he and his firm “have attempted repeatedly to warn the U.S. government of the threat posed” by Fethullah Gulen and his movement.

He says that according to Turkish intelligence sources, “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 denied the charges.

Y. Alp Aslandogan of the New York-based Alliance for Shared Values tells 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.”

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4:40 a.m.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says his general secretary was abducted by coup makers and there is no information on the chief of the military staff.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, speaking on NTV, says he has ordered the “annihilitation” of military planes used by coup plotters. He says military jets have taken off from an air base in Eskisehir, east of Ankara.

According to transcripts of the president’s remarks provided by his office, Erdogan said that he arrived in Istanbul from the holiday resort of Marmaris, which was also been bombed after he left there.

He says: “Those who drive around in tanks will have to go back to where they came from. … The most important thing right now is that millions of Turkish citizens are on the streets at 4.30 a.m.”

He says coup makers “are a minority within the military.”

According to Erdogan, “Turkey has a democratically elected government and president. We are in charge and we will continue exercising our powers until the end. We will not abandon our country to these invaders. It will end well.”

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