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

A mission to cleanse the Turkish military of "traitorous elements" has begun, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said early Saturday, hours after a failed coup.

Fethullah Gulen, the religious leader blamed by Erdogan for the coup attempt, condemned the putsch, saying "governments should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force."

Former military legal advisor Muharrem Kose was also identified as a key figure behind the insurrection, news agency Anadolu reported.

Thirteen soldiers were arrested near the presidential palace in Ankara, and another 50 in Istanbul, in connection with the coup attempt, broadcaster NTV reported.

Explosions and gunfire were reported overnight in Ankara and Istanbul.

At least 17 were reported dead in Ankara. A helicopter used by soldiers backing the coup was shot down by a military jet over the city, broadcaster NTV reported.

Prime Minister Binali Yidirim said early Saturday the situation was under control, and that army head Hulusi Akar, remained in control of the military and was not part of the coup.

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