Updated 8:40 p.m. with statement from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. LDS Church Spokesman Eric Hawkins said Friday evening that “all LDS missionaries in Turkey are safe and accounted for. We have no information that our members are involved in the conflict. We pray for their safety as these events unfold.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Friday urged all sides in Turkey to support the democratically elected government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid an attempted military takeover of the key NATO ally.
In a statement issued after a meeting with his national security advisers, Obama also urged everyone in Turkey to show restraint and avoid violence or bloodshed.
The state-run Anadolu Agency says a bomb has hit the Turkish parliament in Ankara.
CNN-Turk television reported some police officers and parliament workers were hurt in the bomb attack.
A resident living not far from the area told the AP he heard a massive explosion that shook buildings and saw a column of smoke but could not confirm if it was coming from parliament itself.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity for security reasons, also said fighter jets were flying low in the area.
Members of Turkey’s armed forces declared hours earlier that they had taken control of the country as explosions, gunfire and a reported air battle between loyalist forces and supporters of the coup erupted in Ankara, the capital.
Erdogan called on the Turkish people to flood the streets in a show of support for his embattled government.
Turkish broadcaster CNN-Turk says a group of soldiers have entered the headquarters of the Dogan Media group, which owns the television channel.
The newscaster did not provide details on the number of soldiers who entered the building, which is also home to Kanal D television, the Dogan news agency and the Hurriyet newspaper.
The newscaster said she was not sure how much longer the station would be able to broadcast news.
Obama discussed the developments by telephone with Secretary of State John Kerry, who was traveling in Moscow for separate meetings with senior Russian officials on Syria.
In a separate statement, Kerry said the U.S. viewed the “very fluid situation” in Turkey with the “gravest concern.”
Kerry said he had stressed in a telephone call with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu the United States’ “absolute support” for Turkey’s democratically elected, civilian government and democratic institutions. Kerry said he urged all parties to ensure the safety and well-being of diplomatic missions, personnel and civilians across Turkey.
Kerry also urged U.S. citizens in Turkey to stay indoors and to be in touch with family and friends.
Turkey plays a key role in the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.
NATO’s chief has called for “full respect” for Turkey’s democratic institutions and constitution.
“I have just spoken to the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement issued early Saturday. “I am following events in Turkey closely and with concern.”
In an expression of support for President Tayyip Erdogan and his government, Stoltenberg said: “I call for calm and restraint, and full respect for Turkey’s democratic institutions and its constitution.”
He added: “Turkey is a valued NATO Ally.”
Written by DARLENE SUPERVILLE, Associated Press
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