WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – An attempt by members of the Turkish military to overthrow their government left at least 161 people dead Saturday morning. Gunfire and explosions rocked Turkey’s capital of Ankara and the main city of Istanbul Friday night into Saturday morning. A faction of the Turkish military launched the coup using helicopters and tanks. At 11:25 p.m. local time, the Turkish military issued a statement saying they had taken control of the country and imposed martial law. Turkey’s president, Recep Erdogan had been on vacation when the coup was launched. He called upon citizens to go to the streets to fight for democracy.
At the Ahiska Turkish American Community Center in West Springfield, Turkish Americans gathered together to watch what was going on as the military coup took place. Many of them concerned about relatives and family members overseas. They also displayed their support for President Recep Erdogan
Nadjib Osmanli and his father Mehdi have lived in West Springfield for ten years. Nadjib told 22News: “It’s not the first time. It’s almost 40 or 50 years we’ve had that problem in Turkey.”
“Terrorism is in the United States, in Europe, in Turkey,” said Mehdi Osmanli.
One of Osmanli’s relatives sent him a video of the attacks as civilians went toe to toe with the military.
“I have relatives that live in Istanbul and they didn’t even know what was going on. They call me to say what are we going to do, I said go outside with the people,” said Nadjib.”
After hours of violence and tension, the Turkish government announced the coup was over.
The Turkish Prime Minister announced 161 people had been killed and 1,440 had been injured. He went on to say that 2,839 members of Turkey’s military have been detained in connection with the coup attempt.
President Erdogan said the uprising was an “act of treason,” and that those responsible would pay a heavy price, and referenced Fethullah Gulen, a cleric and former ally who lives in exile in Pennsylvania.
The country does not have the death penalty, but must decide what they will do with the captives.
Nadjib Osmanli said: “All the Turkish in the United States, we want to go to Pennsylvania and protest against Gulen, and we want to say ‘why is the United States not giving Gulen to Turkey. Why?’”
President Barrack Obama has announced his support for Turkey’s democratically-elected government and NATO ally. (By David McKay, http://wwlp.com)
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07