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Turkey PM: 161 Dead in Coup Bid, Almost 3,000 Held

 Turkey PM: 161 Dead in Coup Bid, Almost 3,000 Held
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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Saturday 161 people were killed in the coup attempt against the government, with 2,839 soldiers now detained on suspicion of involvement.

 Turkey PM: 161 Dead in Coup Bid, Almost 3,000 Held

Yildirim, speaking outside his Cankaya palace in Ankara and flanked by top general Hulusi Akar who was held during the coup attempt, also described the putsch bid as a "black stain" on Turkish democracy. He added that 1,440 people had been wounded.

The Turkish PM went on to say "We saved the country from a big catastrophe."

The toll 161 did not include the assailants, he emphasized. Turkey's acting army Chief Umit Dundar had earlier said 104 putschists had been killed.

Yildirim blamed the coup attempt on the supporters of US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara has for years accused of working to overthrow the authorities and wants to see brought to justice.

The United States has shown little interest so far to Turkey's requests for his extradition.
"Fethullah Gulen is the leader of a terrorist organization," the premier said.

"Whichever country is behind him is not a friend of Turkey and in a serious war against Turkey," he added.

He went on to say: "We urge people to fill the squares and streets at night."

Meanwhile, Erdogan arrived at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport on Saturday morning and addressed the crowd of supporters that had gathered there.

For his part, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said security forces defeated coup plotters in several places, including police and government buildings, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Relatively, it was not clear who was in control of the military headquarters and Erdogan had not left the airport as dawn broke.

Earlier, Erdogan said the government was arresting coup supporters in the military.

However, those on the pro-coup side dismissed the notion that Erdogan was in control.

In an emailed statement to Reuters, the pro-coup faction said they are determined to fight and urged people to stay indoors. Reports of ongoing violence further fueled the notion that the government still hadn't attained full power.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

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