Turkish F-16s patrol skies after failed coup

Published 9:48 am Monday, July 18, 2016

ANKARA, Turkey — Warplanes patrolled Turkey’s skies overnight in a sign that authorities feared that the threat against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government was not yet over, despite official assurances that life has returned to normal after a failed coup.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said Erdogan ordered the overnight patrol by F-16s “for the control of the airspace and security” after a faction within the military launched the attempted coup late Friday.

The rebellion, which saw warplanes firing on key government installations and tanks rolling into major cities, was quashed by loyal government forces and masses of civilians who took to the streets. The country’s top military brass did not support the coup.

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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Monday that a total of 232 people — 208 government supporters he called “martyrs” and 24 coup plotters — died in the unrest. Government and military officials earlier put the total number of dead at 294, including 104 involved in the coup. The reason for the discrepancy was not immediately clear. More than 1,500 people were wounded.

Yildirim’s voice cracked and he wept as he spoke with reporters after a cabinet meeting and repeated a question his grandson had put to him: “Why are they killing people?”

He said he had no answer, but that Turkey would make the coup plotters answer “in such a way that the whole world will see.”

He said a total of 7,543 had been detained since Friday, including 6,030 military personnel.