Turkish police have urgently ramped up
their presence in Istanbul, with special
forces and military hardware deployed to
the streets and orders to down aircraft
without warning, following unconfirmed
reports of rebel helicopters approaching
the city. Meanwhile, F-16 fighter jets have
been sent to patrol Turkish airspace, RT
reported.
A state of emergency has been imposed
in Istanbul and 1,800 additional special
police forces have been deployed, the
state Anadolu Agency reported.
Armored vehicles have also been
deployed to key locations in Istanbul,
Sputnik news agency reported earlier.
Unconfirmed media reports claimed that
unidentified helicopters have been spotted
over the city, two days after rebel aircraft
were used in a military coup attempt to
attack police and government buildings in
Ankara.
Reports of up to five helicopters
approaching the European part of
Istanbul from the sea were posted by
local media, including Haber Turk
newspaper, but have not been
substantiated
Other media reports cited by Sputnik said
that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s
plane has taken off from Istanbul and
was headed toward Ankara.
Earlier on Sunday, Erdogan ordered the
deployment of at least a dozen F-16
fighter jets to monitor Turkish airspace, Al
Jazeera Turk reported.
The alert comes on the heels of another
report by CNN Turk, which said that at
least 42 military helicopters have gone
missing during the coup turmoil. The
report implied there might be another
attempt to seize power by the coup
plotters.
The allegations contradict the Turkish
government’s official line saying they
have already squashed the coup attempt.
The violent events that took place
overnight into Saturday were followed by
mass purges in the military and judiciary,
with more than 6,000 people arrested,
including generals, judges and
prosecutors.
The mass arrests have prompted a
worried response from European leaders,
who called on Ankara to uphold
democracy and the rule of law.
Erdogan, meanwhile, openly said he views
the coup attempt as a “gift from God,”
enabling the government to “cleanse the
army” once and for all.
At least 265 people were killed and over
1,440 injured in the chaotic events of late
Friday and early Saturday as rebelling
military fired on civilians and attacked
police stations, while anti-coup protesters
tried to block tanks and troops with their
own bodies and vehicles.
Several aircraft were filmed being used by
the coup plotters, including a helicopter
raining down fire on protesters and police,
as well as bombing the parliament
building. Another aircraft, reportedly an
F-16, attempted to bomb Erdogan’s
presidential palace, with two bombs
landing outside the complex.

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