UPDATED – Military take over Turky – July 15, 2016

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Updated – July 16, 2016 @ 15:22 hrs

The Independent

Turkey coup: Soldiers say they were ‘not aware they were part of coup attempt’

July 16, 2016

Some of the soldiers who were detained at a military headquarters in Turkey have reportedly told interrogators they were not aware they were part of a coup attempt. They had been told by commanders they were taking part in military manoeuvres, the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper has reported. Some soldiers said they understood they were part of a coup when they saw civilians climb on tanks. 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. Turkey’s president has told the nation that his government is in charge after a coup attempt brought a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire that left dozens dead. At least 161 people were killed in the country’s overnight military coup attempt, it has been announced, while more than 1,400 people were wounded in the chaos. More than 2,800 people have been detained. Most of those arrested were from lower military ranks, an official said.

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SOURCE = The Independent

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Reuters

Turkey detains about 100 soldiers at southeastern air base: sources

July 16, 2016

Turkish police on Saturday detained about 100 military officers at an air base in southeastern Turkey after an attempted military takeover, security sources said. The military air base in Diyarbakir has served as a main hub for air operations in the past year against the autonomy-seeking Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). On Saturday, no planes took off or landed at the base, a Reuters witness said. A handful of detentions were made at other military bases in the largely Kurdish southeastern provinces of Sanliurfa, Hakkari and Bingol, the sources said.

Copyright © = Reuters

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yahoo

Turkey quashes coup; Erdogan vows ‘heavy price’ for plotters

July 16, 2016

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Forces loyal to Turkey’s president quashed a coup attempt in a night of explosions, air battles and gunfire that left at least 161 people dead and 1,440 wounded Saturday. Authorities arrested thousands as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed that those responsible “will pay a heavy price for their treason.” The chaos came amid a period of political turmoil in Turkey — a NATO member and key Western ally in the fight against the Islamic State group — that critics blame on Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule. Staying in power by switching from being prime minister to president, Erdogan has shaken up the government, cracked down on dissidents, restricted the news media and renewed fighting with Kurdish rebels. The government has also come under pressure from the millions of refugees in Turkey who have fled violence in neighboring Syria and Iraq, and a series of bloody attacks in Turkey blamed on the Islamic State group and Kurdish rebels.

Erdogan was on a seaside vacation when tanks rolled into the streets of Ankara and Istanbul. He flew home early Saturday and declared the coup to have failed. “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,” Erdogan told large crowds after landing at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. The uprising appears not to have been backed by the most senior ranks of the military, and Turkey’s main opposition parties quickly condemned the attempted overthrow of the government. Gen. Umit Dundar said the plotters were mainly officers from the Air Force, the military police and the armored units. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said 161 people were killed and 1,440 wounded in the violence, and 2,839 plotters were detained. A source at the office of the presidency, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with government rules, said the toll of 161 “excludes assailants” — which could mean the death toll is much higher.

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SOURCE = Yahoo News

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The Independent

Hillary Clinton moves swiftly to urge preservation of democracy in Turkey after ‘coup’ erupts

July 16, 2016

The sudden and highly volatile constitutional crisis in Turkey threatens to add a new, unpredictable dynamic in the US presidential race, just as both candidates are preparing for their respective national conventions beginning with the Republican gathering in Cleveland starting on Monday. Clearly, it offers some potential advantage to Ms Clinton, an entirely seasoned denizen of the world scene, who moved faster than Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, to speak to the drama and insist that the democratic will of the Turkish people must be preserved. “I am following the fast-moving developments in Turkey tonight with great concern,” Ms Clinton said in a statement issued late on Friday evening. “We should all urge calm and respect for laws, institutions, and basic human rights and freedoms – and support for the democratically elected civilian government.  All parties should work to avoid further violence and bloodshed, and the safety of American citizens and diplomatic missions must be ensured.”

Mr Trump, who spent Friday hailing his choice of running mate, Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, was silent on Turkey. The New York billionaire is intending to make his first appearance with Mr Pence in New York on Saturday morning at a press conference at the Hilton Hotel. His campaign will be braced for a barrage of questions on Turkey, fully aware that the crisis may only expose the slender national security credentials of both the Republican politicians, as opposed to the deep experience of foreign affairs of Ms Clinton, who was Secretary of State in the first term of President Barack Obama. It surely won’t help that Mr Trump now has as his running mate a Midwest governor who also has almost zero experience of international affairs. It was being rumoured a week ago that Mr Trump was flirting with choosing a former retired US Amry General for the position, namely Mike Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general and former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

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SOURCE = The Independent

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Reuters

Turkey’s Erdogan says uprising was act of treason

July 15, 2016

The attempted coup by a section of Turkey’s military was an act of treason and is a reason to “clean up” the armed forces, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on early on Saturday, hours after the armed forces attempted to overthow him. Erdogan also said in comments broadcast live on private station NTV that the attempted coup was the work of followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, a cleric Erdogan has long accused of attempting to use his followers in the judiciary and military to overthrow the government.

Copyright © = Reuters

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The Mail

Four coups in 56 years: How Turkey has been plagued by bloody military takeovers amid tension between secular army chiefs and religious politicians

July 15, 2016

As military tanks patrol the streets and jets fly over Ankara another chapter in the history of bloody civil war is opened in Turkey. The nation has endured four coups in the past 56 years with hundreds of thousands executed as a result of the political unrest. The armed forces regards itself as the protector of Turkish democracy, a philosophy made up of secular ideals created by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – the founder of the modern Turkish Republic. There has now been four major incidents where army chiefs have decided to intervene in order to ensure their ideals remain undamaged. The first coup took place in 1960 as political tension reached boiling point between the government, led by prime minister Adnan Menderes and president Celal Bayar, opposing political parties and the armed forces. The administration began to re-open mosques and new religious schools as well as calling for people to pray in Arabic rather than Turkish. It also imposed new press laws banning articles criticising the government in newspapers.

After a period of unrest Menderes was forced to employ martial law. The government was eventually toppled and the president, prime minister and several cabinet members were arrested. Menderes was later executed. While there was not a coup in the 1970s, events in this period would contribute to military intervention in years to come. Turkey had sunk into a recession, with their currency failing – causing protests in the streets with often violent demonstrations and attacks from right-wing organisations. The military intervened and prime minister, Suleyman Demirel resigned with a right-wing temporary government put in place. The 1970s were a time of immense political and social unrest in Turkey with thousands being killed and 11 prime ministers taking office. A military coup was announced on TV in September 1980 with the army establishing martial law. The current government was dissolved and naval officer Bulend Ulusu became prime minister for three years before he was succeeded by Turgut Ozal. While there was a stability that came with the military rule hundreds of thousands of people were executed, tortured or went missing during this period.

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SOURCE = Daily Mail

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The Independent

Turkey coup: Barack Obama backs President Erdogan as world leaders express concern

July 16, 2016

The United States has called on all parties in Turkey to support President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government against a coup attempt by the military – with other world leaders expressing concern about the upheaval in a Nato member country. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry spoke by phone and gave their support to Mr Erdogan. “The President and Secretary agreed that all parties in Turkey should support the democratically-elected government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed,” the White House said in a statement. The situation remains unclear but there have been numerous reports of violence. A spokesman for the German government said on Twitter: “The democratic order must be protected, all must be done to protect lives.” In neighbouring Greece, the armed forces and police are holding emergency meetings in Athens to monitor developments. Officials described the country’s armed forces as being placed in a state of “heightened readiness” and not alert.

Moscow expressed grave concern about events in the country, and it had instructed officials to help Russian nationals in Turkey return home at the earliest opportunity. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters President Vladimir Putin was being kept constantly updated on the situation. Peskov said events were moving too fast to fully understand what was happening, but he said Russia was concerned and wanted to see Turkey return to the path of stability and order, and for there to be a lawful outcome. In the UK, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was “very concerned” about the events.

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SOURCE = The Independent

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BBC News

Turkish President Erdogan appears in Istanbul to denounce army coup attempt

July 16, 2016

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has flown in to Istanbul, after an army group said it took over the country. He was seen surrounded by supporters, and said the coup attempt was an “act of treason” in a live TV speech. The army group earlier declared that a “peace council” now ran the country and there was a curfew and martial law. But Prime Minister Binali Yildirim later said the situation was largely under control and a no-fly zone was in force over the capital Ankara. Mr Yildirim said 130 people had so far been arrested, and he ordered the military to shoot down aircraft being used by coup plotters. Earlier, one of the helicopters being flown by forces involved in the coup attempt was shot down over Ankara. However, the whereabouts of the military chief of staff remains unknown. Istanbul’s main Ataturk airport is now under army control, and flights – which had been interrupted for some hours – are due to resume from 06:00 (03:00 GMT).

Soldiers were earlier seen at strategic points in Istanbul, with jets flying low in Ankara. Two large explosion were also heard near Istanbul’s central Taksim Square. There were also reports of blasts at parliament building in Ankara. MPs were believed to be hiding in shelters. There are unconfirmed reports that some people have died in clashes. Broadcaster CNN Turk was reportedly taken over by soldiers, and its live broadcast was cut. In Washington, US President Barack Obama urged all parties in Turkey to support the “democratically elected government”. Nato called for “full respect” for Turkey’s democratic institutions. Speaking in Istanbul in the early hours on Saturday, President Erdogan promised to clean up the army. “Those who drive around in tanks will have to go back to where they came from,” he said. He also dismissed the coup leaders as “terrorists”. Mr Erdogan earlier told CNN Turk by mobile phone the action was by a “parallel structure” that would bring the necessary response. He has used this term in the past to refer to Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim cleric he accuses of fomenting unrest.

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SOURCE = BBC News

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ABC News

What Americans in Turkey Need to Know After Turkish Military Coup

July 15, 2016

As a coup was being attempted in the Turkish capital of Ankara Friday, the U.S. government warned Americans there to stay indoors and to contact their family and friends to let them know they’re safe. Martial law and curfew have been imposed in Turkey, American officials said, and the U.S. State department is encouraging U.S. citizens to shelter in place, warning them against traveling to the U.S. embassy or consulate. “The Turkish Government states that elements of the Turkish army are attempting an uprising, security forces are taking action to contain it, and some buildings are under blockade,” the U.S. embassy said in an emergency message. Social media may have been blocked in Turkey, said the U.S. embassy in Ankara, but Twitter said it had “no reason” to believe the service has been fully blocked. Twitter does suspect that there is an international slowing of traffic in the country. The State Department suggested using email, texts or phone calls to reach loved ones in the event that social media has been blocked.

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SOURCE = ABC News

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The Nation

Attempted coup in Turkey carried live on social media, despite blockages

July 15, 2016

The attempted military coup in Turkey exploded across social media late on Friday despite restricted access to Twitter (TWTR.N), Facebook (FB.O) and YouTube (GOOGL.O) during the first hours of the putsch. Immediately after the coup attempt began, two groups that monitor internet shutdowns reported that it was difficult or impossible to access social media services. Twitter said it suspected an “intentional slowing” of its traffic. YouTube said it was aware of reports that its site was down in Turkey although it was not experiencing any apparent technical difficulties, indicating that an order to restrict access came from within Turkey. But later in the evening it appeared that service had been restored. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, an avowed enemy of social media who has frequently made Twitter and Facebook a target, addressed the country via a FaceTime video call that was shown on TV. He also tweeted: “I call our nation to the airports and the squares to take ownership of our democracy and our national will” and retweeted posts from the prime minister and the official presidency account condemning the coup.

At the same time, both supporters and opponents of the coup inundated social networks with commentary and images, many of them live videos. A map showing all Facebook Live videos showed dozens of live streams coming out of Turkey, including videos of hundreds of people gathered out on the streets. On Twitter, users shared images and videos of scenes in Istanbul and Ankara, with gunshots heard in the background of some videos. Turkey’s military said on Friday it had seized power, but the prime minister said the attempted coup would be put down. During the initial phases of the coup attempt, it was difficult or impossible to access social media for many users except by using a “virtual private network” to bypass local internet providers, local residents and monitoring groups said. Hotspot Shield, an app that allows users to connect to virtual private networks, said it saw a more than 300 percent increase in new downloads in Turkey within two hours of the coup becoming public knowledge.

 

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SOURCE = The Nation

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Fortune

Turkey Blocks Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube Amid Military Coup

July 15, 2016

However, some people in Turkey claim the services work for them. Several high-profile social networking and messaging services were shut down in Turkey on Friday amid an attempted military coup. Facebook FB -0.74% , YouTube GOOG -0.15% , and Twitter TWTR 0.67% were reportedly offline, according to Turkey Blocks, an organization that monitors social networking and messaging services in Turkey. It’s worth noting that it was only certain social networking and messaging services that went offline in Turkey, not the entire Internet. in Turkey, not the entire Internet. The Turkish government often imposes a media ban during periods of political crises that includes blocking access to social media sites and services. The purpose is to prevent potentially damaging news reports on the country that could hurt its image and help opponents organize. CTV News said that Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube were blocked for two hours following the initial military coup in the Turkey and have yet to come online. However, other reports and tweets seem to indicate that some people in Turkey are able to access some social networking and messaging services.

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SOURCE = Fortune

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Terror Attack in Nice, France – July 15, 2016

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BBC News

Nice attack: Foreign Office ‘standing by’ to help Britons

July 15, 2016

The UK Foreign Office is “standing by” to help Britons in the French city of Nice, after a lorry crashed into a crowd killing at least 84 people. The lorry driver was shot dead, and President Francois Hollande said the incident was of a “terrorist nature”. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said at least one UK national was among those injured in the attack. Downing Street said Prime Minister Theresa May was being kept up to date on “this terrible incident”. A spokesman said Number 10 was “shocked and concerned” by the attack, which happened during Bastille Day celebrations in the capital of the French Riviera. A French flag is being flown above Number 10.

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Tony Blair – “Contempt of Parliament” July 10th 2016

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BBC News

Tony Blair could face Iraq contempt vote in Commons

July 10, 2016

A group of senior MPs is calling for a vote to decide whether Tony Blair is guilty of contempt of Parliament over his decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Conservative David Davis said he will present the motion on Thursday accusing the former PM of misleading Parliament. Meanwhile, John Prescott, the then deputy prime minister, said he now believed the invasion was “illegal”. Mr Blair has apologised for mistakes he made but has said he stands by his decision and “there were no lies”. In his long-awaited report on the Iraq invasion, Sir John Chilcot said the legal basis for the war was reached in a way that was “far from satisfactory”, but he did not explicitly say it was illegal. But Mr Davis, a former shadow home secretary, told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “I’m going to put down a contempt motion, a motion which says that Tony Blair has held the House in contempt.

“It’s a bit like contempt of court. Essentially by deceit.”

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Philando Castile Shooting in Minnesota, USA

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New York Times

Philando Castile Shooting in Minnesota Leads Governor to Seek U.S. Investigation

July 7, 2016

Minnesota’s governor called on Thursday for a federal investigation into the shooting of a black man by a police officer during a traffic stop near St. Paul, after millions of people watched the bloody, dying man in a grisly video recorded by his girlfriend and streamed live moments after the shooting. The deadly encounter Wednesday night in the city of Falcon Heights was at least the second shooting this week of a black man by police officers, after the killing of a man in Baton Rouge during an attempted arrest, and parts of both encounters were recorded on video. The graphic video from Minnesota showed Philando Castile, 32, who had been shot several times, slumping against the woman who was recording the scene. As she did so, her 4-year-old daughter sat in the back seat and an officer stood just outside the driver’s side window, still aiming his gun at the mortally wounded man at point-blank range. The video is all the more shocking for the calm, clear narration of the woman, Lavish Reynolds, who states that Mr. Castile had done nothing wrong, and the fact that she streamed it live on Facebook. Ms. Reynolds gave her account of what had happened, stating again and again that Mr. Castile had just been reaching for his driver’s license and registration — as the officer had requested — when the officer opened fire.

“Please, officer, don’t tell me that you just did this to him,” she said. “You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir.”

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Alton Sterling Shooting – Baton Rouge

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abc news

Baton Rouge Man’s Son Breaks Down as Mom Addresses Deadly Cop Shooting

July 6, 2016

The 15-year-old son of Alton Sterling, a black man who was shot and killed by white police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, wept uncontrollably and cried “Daddy!” this morning as his mother spoke to reporters about the deadly confrontation, which was captured on video.

“He [her son Cameron Sterling] had to watch this, as this was put all over the outlets,” Quinyetta McMillon said. “As a mother, I have now been forced to raise a son who is going to remember what happened to his father.”

Alton Sterling, 37, was killed early Tuesday in a shooting that was captured on cellphone video. In the video, two officers appear to struggle with Sterling and slam him to the ground. One man seems to yell “gun.” Then at least two shots are fired while the officers are close to Sterling. Baton Rouge police said the incident began when uniformed officers responded to a disturbance call from someone who said a black man who was selling CDs threatened him with a gun. Officers approached Sterling in the parking lot of the convenience store, and “an altercation between Sterling and the officers ensued,” police said. He was shot during the altercation and died at the scene, police said. The coroner for East Baton Rouge Parish said Sterling died from multiple gunshot wounds to his chest and back. Officers Blane Salamoni, a four-year veteran, and Howie Lake II, a three-year veteran, were placed on leave in connection with Sterling’s death, according to a Baton Rouge police news release. Both officers work in the Uniform Patrol Division.

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Tony Blair and the Chilcot Report – July 6th 2016

UPDATE – CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL CHILCOT REPORT http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/the-report/

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BBC News

Chilcot report: Tony Blair’s Iraq War case not justified

July 6, 2016

Tony Blair overstated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, sent ill-prepared troops into battle and had “wholly inadequate” plans for the aftermath, the UK’s Iraq War inquiry has said. Chairman Sir John Chilcot said the 2003 invasion was not the “last resort” action presented to MPs and the public. There was no “imminent threat” from Saddam – and the intelligence case was “not justified”, he said. Mr Blair has apologised but insisted that lives had not be lost “in vain”. Amid calls for Mr Blair and others to take responsibility, the ex-Labour prime minister said he acknowledged the intelligence had “turned out to be wrong” and the invasion had destabilised Iraq but said he still believed the country was “better off” without Saddam Hussein. While accepting the grief and sorrow of those who had lost loved ones and accepting they could not “forgive or forget him”, he said British service personnel had taken part “in the defining global security struggle of the 21st Century”. The report, which has taken seven years, is on the Iraq Inquiry website.

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British Independence -June 24th 2016

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BBC

EU referendum: UK votes to leave in historic referendum

June 24th 2016

The UK has voted by 52% to 48% to leave the European Union after 43 years in an historic referendum. London and Scotland voted strongly to stay in the EU but the remain vote has been undermined by poor results in the north of England. UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed the result as the UK’s “independence day”. The pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 as the markets reacted to the results. The UK has voted by 52% to 48% to leave the European Union after 43 years in an historic referendum. London and Scotland voted strongly to stay in the EU but the remain vote has been undermined by poor results in the north of England. UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed the result as the UK’s “independence day”. The pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985 as the markets reacted to the results.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage – who has campaigned for the past 20 years for Britain to leave the EU – told supporters “this will be a victory for ordinary people, for decent people”. Mr Farage – who predicted a Remain win at the start of the night after polls suggested that would happen – said Thursday 23 June would “go down in history as our independence day”. He called on Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the referendum but campaigned passionately for a Remain vote, to quit “immediately”. A Labour source said:

“If we vote to leave, Cameron should seriously consider his position.”

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