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Turkish Military Reportedly Seizes Control of Government

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Ankara Turkey:(APS)July 16, 2016-The Turkish military on Friday said that it had assumed power over Turkey, in what the prime minister has termed an illegal act.

The military released a statement saying it had “fully seized control” of the government in order to protect the democratic order and maintain human rights, according media reports.

There are numerous reports that hostages have been taken in the Turkish capital, Ankara. CNN Turk says they are being held at a military headquarters there.

The state-run Anadolu press agency says the chief of military staff is among those being held.

“General Hulusi Akar has been taken hostage by a group in the military who attempted an uprising,” the agency said, citing “credible sources.”

“Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command,” Turkey’s prime minister Binali Yildirim said Friday, telling private NTV television: “it is correct that there was an attempt,” when asked if there was a coup.

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Yildirim promised the perpetrators “will pay the highest price.”

The main bridges in the Turkish city of Istanbul have been blocked by security forces, media reports say. Traffic has been stopped on the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges, but no official reasons have been given.

Footage on local television channels showed tanks deployed at Istanbul’s main airport, and media reports say all flights from the airport have been canceled.

There are also reports of military aircraft flying over the capital Ankara, with gunshots heard.

U.S. National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said Obama’s “national security team has apprised him of the unfolding situation in Turkey,” and he will continue to receive regular updates.

The U.S. State Department urged Americans in Turkey to remain vigilant, with Secretary of State John Kerry saying he hopes for stability, peace and continuity in Turkey.

A Turkish official who did not want to be  named told media sources that soldiers had been deployed in other cities in Turkey, but did not specify which ones.

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