TURKEY COUP ATTEMPT, soldiers.jpg
Turkish soldiers stand guard at the Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, 16 July 2016.
Photograph: EPA/SEDAT SUNA

The Turkish parliament was to hold an emergency session Saturday after a coup by a military faction was foiled overnight, leaving at least 90 dead.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim called the session for 2 pm (1100 GMT), news reports said. The parliament building sustained extensive damage apparently from airstrikes by the coup fighters, with footage showing collapsed walls and smashed windows.

The rebels took control of helicopters and F16 fighter jets, government sources were quoted as saying by local news reports.

The attempted coup was carried out by "a group within the military" acting "outside of the chain of command," said the office of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who vowed to purge the armed forces.

As of Saturday morning, 1,563 members of the armed forces had been arrested, a government official said. Five generals and 29 colonels were dismissed, NTV reported. A general who was part of the coup plot was reportedly killed during the night, Yildirim said.

Sporadic gunfire was reported from parts of Istanbul and Ankara on Saturday morning, where some putschists were reportedly holed up in the army headquarters.

It was not clear who was behind the coup attempt, which was condemned by several military commanders and all four major political parties, including three in opposition.

Erdogan earlier blamed US-based religious leader Fethullah Gulen. But Gulen condemned the putsch, saying "governments should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force."

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