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Kiwis urged to lie low in Turkey

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/07/2016

New Zealanders in Turkey are being urged to lie low and contact their families back home, as martial law is imposed during a coup attempt.

Turkey is a popular destination for backpackers and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade says 202 Kiwis are registered as being in the country now.

"New Zealanders in Turkey are advised to stay in their home or accommodation, monitor the media to stay informed of developments, let their family in New Zealand know they're safe and well," a spokesman said in a statement.

They were also advised to register on the www.safetravel.govt.nz website.

Turkey's armed forces say they have taken power in the country to protect the democratic order and to maintain human rights.

Martial law has been imposed and a curfew declared as the country is now being run by a "peace council" that would not allow public order to be damaged, an announcer on Turkish state broadcaster TRT was ordered to read by the military.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said earlier on Friday night that a group within Turkey's military had attempted to overthrow the government and security forces had been called in to "do what is necessary".

"Some people illegally undertook an illegal action outside of the chain of command," Yildirim said in comments broadcast by private channel NTV.

"The government elected by the people remains in charge. This government will only go when the people say so."

Those behind the attempted coup would pay the highest price, he said.

Before Friday's events, MFAT was already warning New Zealanders about the risks of travelling in Turkey, especially near the Syrian border.

Tourist sites in Istanbul and Ankara should be avoided because of the risk of terrorist attacks, the Safetravel website says.

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