Turkish Government Blames Coup On Man Living In US

| by Kathryn Schroeder
Soldiers in IstanbulSoldiers in Istanbul

At least 161 people died and another 1,440 were injured in the failed July 15 military coup in Turkey.

The evening attack by Turkish military forces attempting to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan found the cities of Istanbul and Ankara ravaged by explosions, gunfire, and tanks, CNN reports.

Erdogan sent a mass text message early local time July 16, calling on Turkish citizens to protect their democracy.

The text message read:

Valuable children of the Turkish nation;

This is an attempt against the nation in which a limited unit has taken over state's armored vehicles and arms in Istanbul and Ankara, and acted in a similar way to what happened in the '70s.

Honorable Turkish nation; protect your democracy and serenity.

I invite you to go out on the streets and to claim your nation against this narrow group' act which hopes to suppress the Turkish nation.

Claim your state and your nation.

A total of 2,839 military officers have been detained in connection with the coup.

The hashtag #idamistiyorum (“I want the death penalty”) has been trending on Twitter after Prime Minister Binali Yildirim addressed the country on the morning of July 16.

"My dear brothers, sister, these parallel gang members are now in the hands of the esteemed Turkish justice and they will be punished in every way they deserve through this process," Yildirim said.

“As you know there is no death penalty in Turkish legal system,” he added. "Today our parliament will have a meeting and we talk about what necessary measures should be taken in order to avoid a craziness like this in the future."

Erdogan has blamed the coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a high-profile political figure and religious scholar who now lives in the United States.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the country will assist Turkey in investigating Gulen’s alleged role in the coup, The Telegraph reports.

"We fully anticipate that there will be questions raised about Mr. Gulen,” Kerry said, noting that a formal extradition bid has not been made.

"And obviously we invited the government of Turkey, as we always do, to present us with any legitimate evidence that withstands scrutiny and the United States will accept that and look at it and make judgments about it appropriately,” he said.

When Erdogan addressed a crowd in Istanbul to announce that the coup was over and that the government was in control, he made a point of mentioning Pennsylvania, the state in which Gulen lives.

"Now I’m addressing those in Pennsylvania. The betrayal you have shown to this nation and to this community, that’s enough," he said. "If you have the courage, come back to your country. If you can. You will not have the means to turn this country into a mess from where you are."

Gulen denies involvement in the coup.

The United States government has suspended all flights to Turkey, and banned all airlines from flying to the United States from Turkey due to the uncertainty surrounding the coup.

Sources: CNN, The Telegraph / Photo credit: The Telegraph

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