Africa: Tanzania Strongly Condemns Turkey Coup Attempt

In the wake of the coup attempt which took place in Turkey on Friday, Tanzania has joined other world leaders to condemn the act, noting that so far there were no reports of any Tanzanians who have been caught up in the crisis.

Speaking in a telephone interview with the 'Sunday News', the Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, East Africa, Regional and International Cooperation, Ambassador Ramadhan Mwinyi, said Tanzania denounced the said attempt.

"So far we have not received any news regarding our citizens in Turkey, though the country does not have an embassy there," he said. Ambassador Mwinyi, however, said that the Tanzanian Embassy in Italy is liaising with the Turkish authorities to find out more details on whether there were any citizens caught up in the crisis.

The government, on the other hand, is closely monitoring the situation and already the president and prime minister of Turkey have issued statements on the issue. "We don't expect the worse to inflict on our people, but we are alert and following the situation very closely.

In case of any developments, we will keep the public posted," he noted. Meanwhile, some 2,839 soldiers, including high-ranking officers, have been arrested after an attempted coup that is now over, says Turkey's PM Binali Yildirim.It was a "black stain on Turkish democracy," he said, with 161 people killed and 1,440 wounded. Explosions and gunfire were heard in Ankara, Istanbul and elsewhere overnight and thousands of Turks heeded President Erdogan's call to rise up against the coupplotters.

It is unclear who was behind the coup. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed a 'parallel structure' - a reference to Fethullah Gulen, a powerful but reclusive US-based Muslim cleric whom he accuses of fomenting unrest. Mr Gulen has rejected any suggestion of links to what happened, saying he condemned "in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey".

The Turkish government wants his extradition. Some 2,745 Turkish judges have also been dismissed in the wake of the coup, state media says. In other developments, the US consulate in southern Adana province said local authorities were preventing movement in and out of Incirlik air base and had cut power there. No reason has been given. The US uses Incirlik to fly on missions against the so-called Islamic State (IS) in Syria and Iraq.

The attempted coup happened because Turkey is deeply divided over President Erdogan's project to transform the country and because of the contagion of violence from the war in Syria. The BBC's Katy Watson in Istanbul says people there are shocked about the events of the past day - President Erdogan divides opinion among Turks but a military takeover was not something they saw coming. Events began on Friday evening as tanks took up positions on two of the bridges over the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul, blocking traffic.

Troops were seen on the streets and low-flying military jets were filmed over Ankara. Shortly after, an army faction issued a statement that a "peace council" was running the country, and it had launched the coup "to ensure and restore constitutional order, democracy, human rights and freedoms".

President Erdogan, then in the south-west resort of Marmaris, made a televised address via his mobile phone, urging people to take to the streets to oppose the uprising. After flying to Istanbul, Mr Erdogan said: "What is being perpetrated is a treason and a rebellion.

They will pay a heavy price." During the violence, the Turkish parliament and presidential buildings in Ankara were attacked. At least one bomb hit the parliament complex. MPs were believed to be hiding in shelters.

Gunfire was also heard outside Istanbul police headquarters and tanks were said to be stationed outside Istanbul airport. There were reports of fierce clashes in Taksim Square in central Istanbul, and gunfire and explosions were heard near the square.

One of the helicopters being flown by rebels was reportedly shot down by government troops in Ankara. Prime Minister Yildirim said the situation was now "completely under control" and the government's commanders were now back in charge.

Earlier, acting military chief of staff, Umit Dundar said officers from the air force, the military police and armoured units had mainly been involved in the coup attempt. Although the chief of staff had been rescued, several military commanders were still being held hostage, he said.

Source: Tanzania Daily News.