Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has pledged support for the Turkish government after a military-led coup gripped the country, leading to the death of at least 90 people over Friday night.
By Saturday morning, at least 1,563 military personnel had been detained as a section of the country’s armed forces attempted to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government.
Only a few days into his new role as Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson tweeted that he had spoken to his foreign counterpart to assure him of the UK’s support for Erdogan – who, his government says, is in a secure undisclosed location.
On Friday night Johnson tweeted that he was “very concerned” by the events and that the British embassy was “monitoring the situation closely”.
As fighting broke out with gunfire and explosions in Ankara and Istanbul – including reports of shooting near the tourist resort of Marmaris – a number of major access roads were closed and some flights to the country had been diverted or cancelled.
On Saturday morning, the Foreign Office continued to advise Britons in Turkey to “stay indoors, avoid public places, in particular demonstrations, and remain vigilant,” even though the situation in the capital appeared to have quietened down.
Erdogan denied the coup had been successful and threatened punishments for those responsible. In a statement provided by his office, he said: “They will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey.
“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.”
The state-run news agency, Anadolu, said military chief of staff General Hulusi Akar is taking over the command of the operation against the coup plotters and government officials described Turks taking to the streets overnight to confront the troops attempting to take over the country.
Television footage showed images of destruction at the parliament, which according to a politician was targeted by three bombs, with broken glass and other debris strewn across a lobby leading to the assembly hall.
The chaos capped a period of political turmoil in Turkey which critics blamed on Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule, which has included a government shake-up, a crackdown on dissidents and opposition media and renewed conflict in the mainly Kurdish areas of the south-east.
Turkey, a Nato member, is a key partner in US-led efforts to defeat the Islamic State group, and has allowed American jets to use its Incirlik air base to fly missions against the extremists in nearby Syria and Iraq.