UPDATE 4: Continued protests, security sweeps and transport disruptions likely in Turkey following failed July 15-16 coup attempt. Exercise caution.
This alert affects Turkey
This alert began 17 Jul 2016 00:27 GMT and is scheduled to expire 20 Jul 2016 23:59 GMT.
Military Coup Attempt July 15-16
- Locations: Nationwide, mainly Ankara and Istanbul
- Fatalities (Injuries): 265+ (1400+)
Although gradually stabilizing, the security situation in Turkey will remain highly fluid in the coming days as the country deals with the aftermath of a failed July 15-16 coup attempt by a faction within the Turkish military that referred to itself as the "Council for Peace in the Homeland" (map <https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=11EApXUyvAVIrb7DuTVKNnuqhzhU> ). President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim have alleged that Fethullah Gulen, exiled leader of the opposition Hizmet movement, is behind the thwarted take-over and have demanded his extradition from the United States. Gulen has denied the charge and condemned the coup.
Military and police forces loyal to the government are continuing security operations in an effort to apprehend any remaining conspirators and other individuals involved in the abortive overthrow attempt. Some reports indicate more than 2,800 soldiers have been arrested, including 29 colonels and five generals; at least one general who was part of the coup plot was killed. While the fighting associated with the coup attempt has mostly abated, sporadic clashes between law enforcement personnel and suspects still at large remain possible as loyalist forces complete their security sweeps.
Mass anti-coup demonstrations renewed in several cities July 16, including Adana, Ankara, Diyarbakir, Istanbul, and Izmir, with thousands of people participating. Such gatherings have been explicitly encouraged by the Erdogan administration and will likely continue through at least July 17, before becoming less frequent and eventually ending over time. Although these protests have largely remained peaceful, violent incidents cannot be completely ruled out. Conversely, anti-government demonstrations could also materialize over the upcoming weeks, particularly if the administration in Ankara seeks to capitalize on the events of July 15-16 by expanding government security operations to encompass political opposition groups or other perceived enemies not actually involved in the attempted overthrow. Authorities reportedly dismissed more than 2,700 judges in the immediate wake of the coup attempt, including five members of the nation's highest judiciary body, the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors - a move that suggests any impending crackdown may not be limited to coup participants.
Key Developments (as of 2300 EEST July 16)
Forces loyal to the government had largely put down the coup attempt and killed or arrested hundreds of mutinous soldiers by the morning of July 16 in major cities across the country, albeit primarily in Ankara and Istanbul. Pockets of resistance in other locations, including the Golcuk Naval Base in Kocaeli Province and Akinci Air Base located 35 km (22 miles) northwest of the Turkish capital, were neutralized by later in the day.
Tens of thousands of people answered Erdogan's call for street rallies to resist the coup during the night of July 15. Huge numbers of people took to the streets in attempts to prevent a military takeover. Large crowds blocked soldiers and gendarmes involved in the uprising in multiple locations. Similarly, large rallies celebrating the government's victory took place in cities nationwide during July 16.
Authorities have not instituted any extraordinary curfews related to the coup attempt.
At 1400 EEST July 16, the Turkish Civil Aviation Authority (SHGM) announced that all airports across Turkey, with the exception of Ankara Esenboga International Airport (ESB), had reopened to domestic flights. ESB remained closed most of the day, reopening only during the mid-evening. Significant delays and cancellations are likely at airports nationwide through at least July 17.
Additional flight disruptions will almost certainly result from actions taken by certain foreign governments and a number of airlines as security precautions in response to the coup attempt. The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has prohibited US airline carriers from flying to and from Istanbul and Ankara airports (ESB, IST, and SAW). The prohibition also bars all airline carriers, regardless of country of registry, from flying into the US from Turkey, either directly or via a third country. Passengers to the US will have to change carriers in a layover. Russia has also temporarily prohibited Russian airlines from flying to/from Turkey for security reasons. Moreover, British Airways (BA) has canceled all of its flights serving Turkey through at least early July 17.
Security conditions could change without warning, and airport status could therefore change as a result.
The Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul has been reopened to shipping traffic after a closure of several hours July 16.
Roadways, including main access routes to airports, have been reopened in major cities. Checkpoints remain highly likely on main thoroughfares as police conduct security operations to locate and detain any coup participants still at large. Countries bordering Turkey have increased security at their borders with Turkey.
Incirlik Air Base Status (Adana)
Turkish authorities placed Incirlik Air Base on temporary lock-down July 16, cutting power to the facility and imposing a no-fly zone for military aircraft in local airspace. No access is being allowed onto or off of the base. Officials stated the measure was taken after Turkish officials determined some base personnel had been involved in the coup attempt. Incirlik switched to on-base generation units to compensate for the loss of municipal electricity supply, resulting in no interruption to ground operations; however, NATO air operations at the facility have been suspended. The lock-down order remained in place as of 2300 July 16. Turkish and US military officials are reportedly coordinating on resuming flight activity at Incirlik as soon as possible; authorities have as yet released no estimate as to when this may occur.
Social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) and access to news outlets appear to have returned to normal.
If operating in Turkey, and particularly in Ankara or Istanbul, continue to exercise extreme caution if venturing out of your residence or hotel; only leave your accommodations during daylight hours. Avoid protest sites and ensure you have an established accountability/check in schedule for all personnel. Strictly avoid crowds of demonstrators, government buildings, security installations, and large concentrations of police or soldiers. Further overloading and/or suspension of telecommunications services remain possible depending on the progress of ongoing security operations; text messages are more reliable than voice when mobile systems are compromised or overburdened. Carry identification and travel documents at all times. Refrain from photographing military personnel, equipment, or operations. Confirm all travel arrangements, especially flight bookings.
Ankara Esenboga Airport: www.esenbogaairport.com <http://www.esenbogaairport.com>
Istanbul Ataturk Airport: www.ataturkairport.com <http://www.ataturkairport.com/>
Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen: www.sabihagokcen.aero <http://www.sabihagokcen.aero/>
Istanbul Traffic (Turkish): tkm.ibb.gov.tr <http://tkm.ibb.gov.tr/>
For more information or assistance, please feel free to contact us or call +1.410.573.3860