Recep Tayyip Erdogan.jpg
Photograph: EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE/HANDOUT

Turkey's government survived an attempted coup, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promised to cleanse the military of the plotters, and reports of clashes continued into Saturday morning.

"They will pay a very high price for this betrayal," Erdogan said in a televised address, blaming the coup on US-based religious leader Fethullah Gulen.

Gulen condemned the putsch, saying "governments should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force."

Around 120 people were arrested so far in connection with the insurrection, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim was quoted as saying by Anadolu news agency report. News footage showed soldiers in custody.

"Things are getting better with each passing moment," he was quoted as saying Saturday morning.

Former military legal advisor Muharrem Kose was also identified as a key figure behind the insurrection, news agency Anadolu reported. Yildirim said earlier that army head Hulusi Akar remained in control of the military throughout and was not part of the coup.

Aerial dogfights and bombings, military blockades and clashes between mobs and armed forces were reported across Turkey overnight. A helicopter used by soldiers backing the coup was shot down by a military jet over Ankara, broadcaster NTV reported.

At least 17 people were killed, reports said.

A large explosion was heard in central Istanbul shortly before Erdogan's television appearance, apparently close to Taksim Square. There were also reports of multiple explosions at the parliament building in Ankara.

Several military commanders and all four major political parties - including three in opposition - rejected the coup, blaming a small group within the military, according to NTV, Hurriyet newspaper and a government official.

Gulen, blamed by Erdogan, was once the president's ally in trying to bring his mildly Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party to power. However, since a split several years ago, Erdogan's forces have moved actively to dislodge Gulenists from power in Turkey.

"It was the parallel organization," Erdogan said Saturday of the coup attempt, referring to Gulen's ongoing influence in the civil service and politics.

Earlier, wtnesses reported crowds chanting "Allah Akhbar" (Praise Allah) in the streets of Istanbul. Prayers were being called out from mosques in Istanbul, hours before scheduled morning prayers.

State broadcaster TRT went off air for several hours, as did CNN Turk after reporting a raid by soldiers. Both had resumed broadcasting early Saturday.

Soldiers reportedly took over the airport in Istanbul and stopped flights. Several international air carriers including Lufthansa, Aeroflot and KLM recalled flights to Turkey.

Armed forces also shut down several key bridges.

The US White House said "all parties in Turkey should support the democratically elected government of Turkey, show restraint, and avoid any violence or bloodshed."

Similar calls came from EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and Iran. NATO called for "calm and restraint" and respect for "Turkey's democratic institutions."

Fars reported that two border crossings between Iran and Turkey had been shut down and that President Hassan Rowhani was planning a crisis meeting on the situation in Turkey.

Latest news

Six injured, 96 detained in Berlin fan clashes

Six people were treated in hospital and 96 detained in clashes in Berlin between fans of Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, police said Sunday.

Croatian government condemns extremism

The Croatian government on Sunday condemned all forms of extremism and acts of provocative nature aimed against the Serb minority in Vukovar as well as the rally organised by the Autochthonous Croatian Party of Rights (A-HSP) in Zagreb on Friday.

Approx. 7,500 migrants prevented from illegally entering Serbia in past 8 months

In the past several months, the authorities have prevented the illegal entry of approximately 7,500 migrants on Serbian soil. Serbian Interior Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic said Sunday.

Merkel's conservatives and Schulz's centre-left draw even in survey

Voter support for the German centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) is on par with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, a survey published Sunday showed.

Police arrest A-HSP party chief at rally in Zagreb

Police arrested Autochthonous Croatian Party of Rights (A-HSP) chief Drazen Keleminac for disturbing the peace at a public rally organised by the A-HSP in Zagreb on Sunday.

Kidnapped German archaeologists freed in Nigeria

Two German archaeologists who were kidnapped in northern Nigeria have been released, police said Sunday.

Turkey has built 290 kilometres of wall on border with Syria

Turkey has erected 290 kilometres of a planned 511-kilometre wall along its border with Syria, local media reported Sunday, citing the head of the building authority in charge of the project.

Syrian forces close in on city held by Turkish-backed rebels

Syrian government forces on Sunday seized a town from the Islamic State extremist militia near the northern city of al-Bab already under the control of Turkish-backed rebels, Syrian state media and monitors reported.

At least 90 Christian families escape Sinai attacks

At least 90 families reached Egypt's Ismailiya governorate, after escaping targeted killings by a local Islamic State militia in northern Sinai in recent days, an official at the Coptic Orthodox Church said Sunday.

40,000 Croats suffer from anorexia and bulimia

More than 40,000 Croatians, mostly girls and young women aged between 12 and 30, suffer from anorexia, bulimia or some other eating disorder and that number is growing each year, experts at the centre for eating disorders BEA have reported.

Iranian ex-president Ahmadinejad praises Trump

Former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote a personal letter to Donald Trump in which he praised the US president and wished him well in his tenure, local media reported Sunday.

Russians honour slain opposition leader Nemtsov in Moscow rally

A demonstration on the second anniversary of the assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov drew thousands of people to the streets of Moscow on Sunday.