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Turkey coup attempt claims 194 lives

dpadpa 15/07/2016

Acting military chief Umit Dundar says 47 civilians, 104 military personnel, 41 police and two soldiers not involved in the Turkey coup plot are dead.

A total of 194 people were killed in the Turkey coup attempt, the country's acting military chief says.

Umit Dundar says 47 civilians and 104 military personnel involved in the coup are among the dead.

The other victims were 41 police officers and two soldiers not involved in the plot.

The Turkish military announced late Friday that it was seizing power to restore order.

Aerial bombings, military blockades and clashes between mobs and armed forces were reported across Turkey overnight, but the government has since largely quelled the uprising and arrested more than 1500 military personnel.

"Those who betray their state and country will not go unpunished," Dundar said.

First Army commander General Dundar was appointed acting head of the military after Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar went missing.

Akar has since been "rescued from captivity", a government official said.

Forces loyal to the government fought on Saturday to crush the remnants of the coup which crumbled after crowds answered President Tayyip Erdogan's call to take to the streets and dozens of rebels abandoned their tanks.

The faction of the armed forces which tried to seize power used tanks and attack helicopters. Some strafed the headquarters of Turkish intelligence and parliament in the capital, Ankara, and others seized a major bridge in Istanbul.

Erdogan appeared to accuse the plotters of trying to kill him and said he would purge the armed forces, which in the past have staged a number of successful coups, although not for more than 30 years.

"They will pay a heavy price for this," he said.

"This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army."

Later, the presidency warned on Twitter that another uprising could be staged at any time.

Turkish authorities had detained about 1500 members of the armed forces with many more likely, officials said.

A successful overthrow of Erdogan, who has ruled Turkey since 2003, would have marked one of the biggest shifts in the Middle East in years, transforming a major US ally while war rages on its border.

However, a failed coup attempt could still destabilise a NATO member that lies between the European Union and the chaos of Syria, with Islamic State bombers targeting Turkish cities and the government also at war with Kurdish separatists.

Erdogan, who had been holidaying on the southwest coast when the coup was launched, flew into Istanbul before dawn on Saturday and was shown on TV outside Ataturk Airport.

Addressing a crowd of thousands of flag-waving supporters at the airport later, he said the government remained at the helm, although disturbances continued in Ankara.

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