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Turkish People Defeated the Military Coup, Erdogan Urges Obama to Extradite Coup Plotter Fetullah Gulen,

July 17, 2016 


Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan celebrating defeat of the military coup at Taksim Square, Istanbul, July 16, 2016 Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, July 16, 2016
TRT Anchor woman, Tigen Karas, who was forced to announce the coup statement, July 15, 2016 Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, July 16, 2016
Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defeated the military coup at Taksim Square, Istanbul, July 16, 2016 Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defeated the military coup at Taksim Square, Istanbul, July 16, 2016



At height of Turkish coup bid, rebel jets had Erdogan's plane in their sights

Mon Jul 18, 2016 2:36am EDT

By Humeyra Pamuk and Orhan Coskun


At the height of the attempt to overthrow Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, the rebel pilots of two F-16 fighter jets had Erdogan's plane in their sights. And yet he was able to fly on.

The Turkish leader was returning to Istanbul from a holiday near the coastal resort of Marmaris after a faction in the military launched the coup attempt on Friday night, sealing off a bridge across the Bosphorus, trying to capture Istanbul's main airport and sending tanks to parliament in Ankara.

"At least two F-16s harassed Erdogan's plane while it was in the air and en route to Istanbul. They locked their radars on his plane and on two other F-16s protecting him," a former military officer with knowledge of the events told Reuters.

"Why they didn't fire is a mystery," he said.

A successful overthrow of Erdogan, who has ruled the country of about 80 million people since 2003, could have sent Turkey spiraling into conflict and marked another seismic shift in the Middle East, five years after the Arab uprisings erupted and plunged its southern neighbor Syria into civil war.

A senior Turkish official confirmed to Reuters that Erdogan's business jet had been harassed while flying from the airport that serves Marmaris by two F-16s commandeered by the coup plotters but that he had managed to reach Istanbul safely.

A second senior official also said the presidential jet had been "in trouble in the air" but gave no details.

Erdogan said as the coup unfolded that the plotters had tried to attack him in the resort town of Marmaris and had bombed places he had been at shortly after he left. He "evaded death by minutes", the second official said.

Around 25 soldiers in helicopters descended on a hotel in Marmaris on ropes, shooting, just after Erdogan had left in an apparent attempt to seize him, broadcaster CNN Turk said.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim had also been directly targeted in Istanbul during the coup bid and had narrowly escaped, the official said, without giving details.

Flight tracker websites showed a Gulfstream IV aircraft, a type of business jet owned by the Turkish government, take off from Dalaman airport, which is about an hour and a quarter's drive from Marmaris, at about 2240 GMT on Friday.

It later circled in what appeared to be a holding pattern just south of Istanbul, around the time when a Reuters witness in the airport was still hearing bursts of gunfire, before finally coming in to land.

Gunfire and explosions rocked both Istanbul and Ankara through Friday night, as the armed faction which tried to seize power strafed the headquarters of Turkish intelligence and parliament in the capital. At one point it ordered state television to read out a statement declaring a nationwide curfew.

But the attempt crumbled as forces loyal to Erdogan pushed the rebels back and as the Turkish leader, at one point appearing on broadcaster CNN Turk in a video call from a mobile phone, urged people to take to the streets to support him.

More than 290 people were killed in the violence, 104 of them coup supporters, the rest largely civilians and police officers.

The aerial aspect of the plot appears to have centered on the Akinci air base around 50 km (30 miles) northwest of Ankara, with at least 15 pilots involved under the orders of a rebel commander, according to the former military officer.

The head of the armed forces, Hulusi Akar, was held hostage at the base during the coup attempt but was eventually rescued. Jets from Akinci piloted by the rebels roared low over Istanbul and Ankara repeatedly during the chaos of Friday night, shattering windows and terrifying civilians with sonic booms.

Fighter jets taking off from another air base at Eskisehir, west of Ankara, were scrambled to bomb Akinci and try to stop the rebels. However, the rogue aircraft were able to keep flying through the night by refueling mid-air after a tanker plane was commandeered, the first senior official said.

The tanker aircraft was taken from the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, which is used by the U.S.-led coalition to bomb Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The commander of Incirlik was detained on Sunday for complicity, the official said.


Three senior officials in Ankara said Akin Ozturk, head of the air force until 2015 and a member of High Military Council (YAS), the top body overseeing the armed forces, was one of the masterminds of the plot. He was among thousands of soldiers detained, pictured on Sunday in handcuffs wearing a striped polo shirt at Ankara police headquarters.

Ozturk was due to be retired this August at a meeting of the YAS, which convenes twice a year. According to his biography, still on the military's website, he was born in 1952.

The second mastermind was thought to be Muharrem Kose, a former legal adviser to the chief of military staff, the same three Ankara officials said. They described Kose as a follower of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric whose network Erdogan has blamed for carrying out the coup attempt.

Kose was removed from his post in March for misconduct but had not been discharged from the armed forces, one of the officials said. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

"There were serious preparations ongoing for a very long time. The two people in question seem to have been the brains behind the coup attempt," the official said, declining to be identified because the investigation is still continuing.

Erdogan and the government have long accused Gulen's followers of trying to create a "parallel structure" within the courts, police, armed forces and media with the aim of seizing power, a charge the cleric has repeatedly denied.


Erdogan, his roots in Islamist politics, has always had a difficult relationship with the military, which long saw itself as the guardian of secularism in Turkey, carrying out three coups and forcing a fourth, Islamist-led government from power in the second half of the 20th century.

Coup plot trials saw hundreds of officers jailed while Erdogan was prime minister, as the government used the courts to clip the wings of the armed forces. The allegations were later discredited and convictions overturned, but the actions damaged morale and fueled resentment.

Yet the coup plotters appear to have overestimated the support they would find within the military ranks.

"It was outside the chain of command which was the biggest handicap for the coup plotters," said Sinan Ulgen, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe and a former Turkish diplomat.

"They had an insufficient portfolio of resources. They were grossly under-equipped to achieve their strategic objectives ... There was definitely quite a degree of incompetence compared to how coups were done here in the past."

At one point they tried to silence CNN Turk, forcing the evacuation of the studio. When it came back on air, anchorwoman Nevsin Mengu described the soldiers as young and with "only fear in their eyes and no sign of devotion or determination".

The former military officer said the coup plotters appeared to have launched their attempt prematurely because they realized they were under surveillance, something corroborated by other officials in Ankara.

"They weren't fully prepared. The plans were leaked, they found out they were being monitored and it all apparently forced them to move faster than planned," the ex-officer said.

They also underestimated Erdogan's ability to rally the crowds, his appeal for supporters to take to the streets bringing people out in Istanbul, Ankara and elsewhere even as tanks took to the streets and jets screamed overhead.

Sertac Koc, press adviser to the mayor of Kazan district where the Akinci base is located, said local residents started noticing the high number of jets taking off as events unfolded.

"When they saw jets hitting parliament in Ankara and people in Istanbul, they got organized among themselves and marched to the base to try and stop them," he told Reuters by phone.

"They tried to block traffic to the base by parking their vehicles, burning hay to block the jets' vision, and in the end they attempted to cut the power to the base," he said.

Seven people were killed when the rebel soldiers opened fire, Koc said, among the dozens of civilians killed across the country in one of Turkey's worst nights of bloodshed.

(Additional reporting by Tom Miles in Geneva, Paul Taylor in Brussels; Writing by Nick Tattersall; editing by David Stamp)


Erdogan urges US to extradite Fetullah Gulen

Turkish president repeats his call on the US and President Barack Obama to give 'this person' back to Turkey

By Burcu Arik and Hale Turkes

Anadolu, July 17, 2016


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged the United States on Saturday to extradite accused terrorist leader and coup plotter Fetullah Gulen.

Addressing a crowd in Istanbul less than 24 hours after his call for the public to take the streets helped end a coup, Erdogan said Turkey had asked the U.S. many times to extradite Pennsylvania-based preacher Gulen, an expatriate Turk. "I had told you [the U.S.] to deport or give this person back to Turkey."

"I had told you that this person was in a preparation for a coup against Turkey, but I could not make you listen to me," Erdogan said.

Reiterating his demand, Erdogan said, "I repeat my call on the U.S. and president [Barack Obama], give this person back to Turkey."

Erdogan also emphasized that Friday’s failed coup had not come from within the higher echelons of the army but instead "a small minority within the military."

"They [Gulen supporters] were like a tumor within the military, and now this tumor is being removed," he added.

Erdogan later called Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman on the phone to thank him and all members of parliament for their "honorable stance" against the failed coup, a presidential source said late Saturday.

Erdogan also telephoned main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahceli, thanking them for their support for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), democracy, and the national will, and for not lending credence to the coup attempt, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity, due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

The president also reportedly underlined the significance of all parties adopting a common stance on protecting democracy.

Friday night saw military elements make a “vile” attempt to overthrow Turkey’s elected government, according to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Around 160 people were martyred in the ensuing violence.

Some 2,839 military personnel involved in the coup attempt have been arrested, and 20 pro-coup soldiers, including some senior officers, were killed in the attempt to overthrow the government.

Turkey accuses Fetullah Gulen of being behind the coup and called for him to return to Turkey to face trial.

Thousands take to streets across Turkey for democracy

After the president's call, people flood the streets nationwide to celebrate democracy's victory over failed military coup

By Burcu Arik


Thousands of people took to the streets across Turkey Saturday to celebrate democracy’s victory over Friday's failed military coup by the FETO terrorist group.

Heeding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's call, the crowds flooded main streets and squares of large cities, especially Istanbul, Turkey’s biggest city, and the capital Ankara.

In Kizilay, a central, well-known square in Ankara, residents, including women and children, waved flags and chanted pro-government and democracy slogans.

Addressing the crowds, Ankara Mayor Melih Gokcek from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) said that Turkey now is not the same as it once was. "The power of arms could not make our nation bow," he said.

Istanbulites also staged similar images. People gathering in various locations across the city walked through the streets to protest the coup plotters.

On Saturday night, Erdogan also called the parliament speaker and the two main opposition party leaders, Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu and National Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahceli, to thank them "for not giving credit to the coup attempt."

Friday night saw military elements make a “vile” attempt to overthrow Turkey’s elected government, according to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Around 160 people were martyred in the ensuing violence.

Some 2,839 military personnel involved in the coup attempt have been arrested, and 20 pro-coup soldiers, including some senior officers, were killed in the attempt to overthrow the government.

The government has said the coup bid was organized by followers of expatriate cleric Fetullah Gulen, who is accused of pursuing a long-running campaign to overthrow the government through supporters within the Turkish state, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

Turkish parliament holds extraordinary session

Session follows failed coup attempt Friday night

By Hale Turkes


The Turkish parliament convened Saturday for an extraordinary session in the aftermath of the attempted Friday night coup.

"What is necessary will be done, and [the perpetrators] will be punished in the heaviest manner," Parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman said in a speech opening the session.

He also said that life went quickly back to normal, and all wounds would be healed soon.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim started his speech by remembering the martyrs who sacrificed their own lives in defense of the “nation’s independence and future” on Friday night.

He thanked the public for their support, having taken to the streets to protest the coup attempt. He also praised the deputies who went to parliament and stayed there amid all the bombing.

"They started to drop bombs on parliament. They fired. Yet you did not retreat,” he said, adding that the MPs thus demonstrated exemplary behavior to parliaments and democracies all around the world.

“As the public defended its independence on the streets, you, as the representatives of the nation, held on tightly to your independence, democracy, and national will in parliament.

"With this attitude, you have changed Turkey’s fortune, and demonstrated a solidarity, friendship, and cooperation that will be remembered for centuries to come. Thus, this Parliament deserves the greatest praise after our nation,” he said.

The premier also declared July 15 a "day of democracy."

"Those who attempted this coup, and tried to overthrow the public, ended up being the target and were overthrown themselves.

"From now on July 15 is a day of guarding, and watching over democracy. It is the day of democracy," he said, calling the involved members of the army “not soldiers, but terrorists and murderers disguised as soldiers.”

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu denounced what he termed an “attack on democracy”.

"On behalf of my party, and all our supporters who voted for us, and the citizens of the Turkish Republic, I curse yesterday’s attack on democracy,” he said, further praising the public “who took to the streets and exercised their right to revolt against the [attempted] coup.”

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli said what happened on Friday night was not just a coup attempt but “also a treacherous and bloody terrorist attack.”

“This attack was committed by a small group within the Turkish military, who was either beguiled or already thirsty for this. Democracy almost fell off a cliff,” he said.

Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Chairman Idris Baluken also strongly condemned the “anti-democracy” attempt and “deadly attacks” “without a ‘but’ or ‘however’.”

“There is no excuse for a coup, whether military, bureaucratic, or civil,” he said, adding that the “antidote” to coups is peace and democracy.

“Unless peace and democracy is established, there will always be the possibility of a coup,” he said.

 Following the speeches by party leaders, Kahraman read out the joint declaration signed by all four parties represented in parliament, which praised the body for continuing to work “as one under bombs and bullets.”

“Our parliament has responded to the coup attempt as one. Its determination against this attempt is invaluable in terms of further establishing democracy in Turkey,” the statement said, touting the “historic” common stance of all political parties in parliament, “which will take its place in history” and “further strengthen the nation and national will.”

“The Turkish parliament is back to work as one, and will ensure that those who attempted this attack on the nation and its sovereignty are punished in the heaviest manner allowed by law.

“This declaration is proof that nothing will be the same in Turkey. Even if we may have different views, we all stand by the national will, and we always will," it said.

The four parties also warned against resorting to violence while protesting the failed coup.

On Friday night, renegade elements within Turkey’s military attempted to stage a coup against the government.

Although the coup was soon put down by the country’s legitimate authorities and security apparatus, some 160 people were martyred in the violence, according to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.


Coup soldiers raided state-run broadcaster TRT, forcefully announced coup declaration

Daily Sabah, July 17, 2016

As part of Friday night's illegitimate coup attempt, soldiers raided state-run broadcaster Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) and forcefully had a news presenter read the coup declaration live on TV.

Speaking to Daily Sabah about the events at the TRT building, the deputy director-general of TRT İbrahim Eren said that the coup soldiers raided the building claiming that they were there to prevent a DAESH attack from happening. "They said they came to our building to protect us from DAESH. Therefore our employees did not react to them," Eren said.

Eren explained that they realized what was going on after the soldiers handcuffed employees and hit some with gun strokes. "Hundreds of people flocked to the yard of our building with Turkish flags after they heard the news."

Explaining how Tijen Karaş, the news presenter that read the coup declaration, could do it, Eren said that the soldiers directed heavy machine guns at her, saying: "You will read it or we are going to shoot you." Resisting against the raid on the TRT building, Eren said he was outside with citizens that approached soldiers with great caution. "We did not move back even though they opened fire. We approached bit by bit and tried to convince the soldiers to lay down arms. Some of them burst into tears and handed their rifles over," he said. Having neutralized the soldiers, hundreds of citizens entered into the TRT building and freed Karaş. "The citizens were not violent even though some of the soldiers pointed rifles at them. Our president's words were enough for us. We flocked to the streets," he added. After retaking the TRT studio, Karaş made a statement regarding the incident. "It was the most difficult bit of coverage of my life. We were captured in our studio by armed people. Our hands were handcuffed from behind. We were threatened. I was forced to read the statement by armed people," Karaş said, explaining why she appeared on TV reading a coup statement.


The Daily Sabah building was also targeted on Friday night. In addition to fighter jets flying over Istanbul and Ankara opening fire on civilians and specific buildings, the Sabah and Daily Sabah building was damaged.

Emre Başaran from Daily Sabah talked about Friday night's story. "They had heavy machine guns and randomly opened fire at our building," Başaran said, adding that he got under a desk to protect himself from getting shot. "We heard jets flying over us all night long," he added.

Recalling the citizens' support for the Sabah building, Başaran said: "Hundreds of people gathered in front of our building in case a raid was carried out. They waited here all night long."


 Turkey rounds up plot suspects after thwarting coup against Erdogan

ISTANBUL/ANKARA | By David Dolan and Gulsen Solaker

Reuters, Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:04pm EDT

Turkish authorities rounded up nearly 3,000 suspected military plotters on Saturday and ordered thousands of judges detained after thwarting a coup by rebels using tanks and attack helicopters to try to topple President Tayyip Erdogan.

For several hours overnight on Friday violence shook Turkey's two main cities, as the armed faction which tried to seize power blocked a bridge in Istanbul and strafed the headquarters of Turkish intelligence and parliament in Ankara.

At least 265 people were killed. An official said 161 of them were mostly civilians and police officers, while the remaining 104 were coup supporters.

But the coup attempt crumbled as Erdogan rushed back to Istanbul from a Mediterranean holiday and urged people to take to the streets to support his government against plotters he accused of trying to kill him.

"They will pay a heavy price for this," said Erdogan, launching a purge of the armed forces, which last used force to stage a successful coup more than 30 years ago. "This uprising is a gift from God to us because this will be a reason to cleanse our army."

Among those detained were top military commanders, including the head of the Second Army which protects the country's borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran, state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Hundreds of soldiers were held in Ankara for alleged involvement in the coup, leaving police stations overflowing.

Some had to be taken under armed police escort in buses to a sports stadium. Reuters footage showed some of the detainees, hand-cuffed and stripped from the waist up, sitting on the floor of one of the buses.

The government declared the situation under control, saying 2,839 people had been rounded up, from foot soldiers to senior officers, including those who formed "the backbone" of the rebellion.

Authorities also began a major crackdown in the judiciary over suspected links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, removing from their posts and ordering the detention of nearly 3,000 prosecutors and judges, including from top courts.

Erdogan has blamed the coup on supporters of Gulen, who he has frequently accused of trying to foment uprising in the military, media and judiciary.

Ten members of the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors and two members of the Constitutional Court have already been detained, officials said.


A successful overthrow of Erdogan, who has ruled the country of about 80 million people since 2003, would have marked another seismic shift in the Middle East, five years after the Arab uprisings erupted and plunged Turkey's southern neighbor Syria into civil war.

However, a failed coup attempt could still destabilize the NATO member and major U.S. ally 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.

U.S. President Barack Obama expressed support for Turkey's government and called on all sides to avoid action that would lead to further violence or instability.

French President Francois Hollande said he expected a period of repression in the aftermath of the failed coup.

Erdogan, who had been holidaying on the southwest coast when the coup was launched, flew into Istanbul before dawn on Saturday and told thousands of flag-waving supporters at the airport that the government remained at the helm.

A polarizing figure whose Islamist-rooted ideology lies at odds with supporters of modern Turkey's secular principles, Erdogan said the plotters had tried to attack him in the resort town of Marmaris.

"They bombed places I had departed from right after I was gone," he said. "They probably thought we were still there."

Erdogan's AK Party has long had strained relations with the military, which has a history of mounting coups to defend secularism although it has not seized power directly since 1980.

His conservative religious vision for Turkey's future has also alienated many ordinary citizens who accuse him of authoritarianism. Police used heavy force in 2013 to suppress mass protests demanding more freedom.

He commands the admiration and loyalty of millions of Turks, however, particularly for raising living standards and restoring order to an economy once beset by regular crises, which grew 4.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter.

The violence is likely to hit a tourism industry already suffering from the bombings, and business confidence is also vulnerable.


In a night that sometimes verged on the bizarre, Erdogan frequently took to social media, even though he is an avowed enemy of the technology when his opponents use it and frequently targets Twitter and Facebook.

He addressed the nation via a video calling service, appearing on the smartphone of a CNN Turk reporter who held it up to a studio camera.

He also urged Washington to deport Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States. The cleric, who once supported Erdogan but became a leading adversary, condemned the attempted coup and said he played no role in it.

"As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations," Gulen said in a statement.

Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States had not received any request to extradite Gulen.


Gunfire and explosions had rocked both Istanbul and Ankara through the night after soldiers took up positions in both cities and ordered state television to read out a statement declaring they had taken power. However, by dawn the noise of fighting had died down considerably.

About 50 soldiers involved in the coup surrendered on one of the bridges across the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul after dawn on Saturday, abandoning their tanks with their hands raised in the air. Reuters witnesses saw government supporters attack the pro-coup soldiers who had surrendered.

By Saturday afternoon, CNN Turk reported that security forces had completed an operation against coup plotters at the headquarters of the military general staff. Security sources also said police detained about 100 military officers at an air base in the southeast.

Neighboring Greece arrested eight men aboard a Turkish military helicopter which landed in the northern city of Alexandroupolis on Saturday, the Greek police ministry said, adding that they had requested political asylum.

At one stage military commanders were held hostage by the plotters and by Saturday evening -- 24 hours after the coup was launched -- some operations against rebels were continuing.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said soldiers at the Incirlik air base, used by the United States to launch air strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, were involved in the attempt. He said Turkey would resume operations with the U.S.-led coalition once the anti-coup operations were completed.


The coup began with warplanes and helicopters roaring over Ankara and troops moving in to seal off the bridges over the Bosphorus, which separates Europe and Asia in Istanbul.

Turkish maritime authorities reopened the Bosphorus to transiting tankers after shutting the major trade route from the Black Sea to the Aegean for several hours for security and safety reasons.

In the early hours of Saturday, lawmakers hid in shelters inside the parliament building, which was fired on by tanks. An opposition deputy told Reuters that parliament was hit three times and people had been wounded.

When parliament convened later in the day, the four main political parties -- running the gamut from Erdogan's right-wing Islamist-rooted AK Party to the left-of-center, pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) -- came together in a rare show of unity to condemn the attempted coup.

A Turkish military commander also said fighter jets had shot down a helicopter used by the coup plotters over Ankara.

Momentum turned against the coup plotters as the night wore on. Crowds defied orders to stay indoors, gathering at major squares in Istanbul and Ankara, waving flags and chanting.

"We have a prime minister, we have a chief of command, we're not going to leave this country to degenerates," shouted one man, as groups of government supporters climbed onto a tank near Ataturk airport.

Kerry said he had phoned the Turkish foreign minister and underlined "absolute support for Turkey's democratically elected, civilian government and democratic institutions".


Flag carrier Turkish Airlines resumed flights on Saturday, though some foreign carriers canceled weekend flights.

At the height of the action, rebel soldiers took control of TRT state television, which announced a countrywide curfew and martial law. An announcer read a statement on the orders of the pro-coup faction that accused the government of eroding the democratic and secular rule of law. Turkey would be run by a "peace council" that would ensure the safety of the population, the statement said.

(Then, people and police stormed the tv station, arrested the soldiers, and enabled the same announcer, Tijen Karaş, to announce the failure of the coup - Al-Jazeerah Editor. See: ).

Turkey is one of the main backers of opponents of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria's civil war and hosts 2.7 million Syrian refugees. It was a departure point last year for the biggest influx of migrants to Europe since World War Two.

Turkey has suffered numerous bombings and shootings this year, including an attack two weeks ago by Islamists at Ataturk airport that killed more than 40 people, as well as those staged by Kurdish militants.

After serving as prime minister from 2003, Erdogan was elected president in 2014 with plans to alter the constitution to give the previously ceremonial presidency far greater executive powers.

(Reporting by Orhan Coskun, Humeyra Pamuk, Ayla Jean Yackley, Nick Tattersall, David Dolan, Akin Aytekin, Tulay Karadeniz, Can Sezer, Gulsen Solaker, Ece Toksabay, Murad Sezer, Ercan Gurses, Nevzat Devranoglu, Dasha Afanasieva, Birsen Altayli, Asli Kandemir; Additional reporting by Sue-Lin Wong, Ben Blanchard and Rozanna Latiff; Writing by David Stamp and Dominic Evans; Editing by Timothy Heritage, Andrew Heavens and Catherine Evans)


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