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President Erdogan called the attempted military coup against his government an "act of treason" and vowed to his supporters that the coup plotters will pay for the chaos.

His government has also come under scrutiny for allegedly tolerating the flow of fighters and weapons to rebel groups fighting the government in Syria in the early years of the civil war there, fueling the growth of the Islamic State group. He says initial evidence suggests ties between the failed coup's masterminds, including Ozturk and the Gulenist Movement. He told them: "They have pointed the people's guns against the people. There is no power higher than the power of the people".

Turkey's military has managed to seize power directly three times since 1960 (and forced another government from power in 1997).

Erdogan appointed Dundar, commander of the First Army, as acting chief of staff after General Hulusi Akar was captured by putschists.

And 2,839 soldiers have been arrested, Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said.

In a statement from the EU President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and the foreign affairs representative Federica Mogherini, the EU said it "fully supports the democratically elected government, the institutions of the country and the rule of law".

Turkey's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies lined up to condemn the coup. "And that changes should be supported by the EU", Vistisen added.

"I'm inviting them out to all our public squares". Greek media suggest that the crew was part of the faction of the Turkish military that attempted to overthrow Erdogan.

Yildirim blamed the coup attempt on the supporters of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric based in the US. Gulen lives in exile in Pennsylvania and promotes a philosophy that blends a mystical form of Islam with staunch advocacy of democracy, education, science and interfaith dialogue.

"I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey", he said.

"Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force", he said. "As far as I know, the situation with departures is improving now".

Gamal Eid, a prominent rights lawyer who has been banned from travelling overseas, said on Facebook that since the coup has failed, pro-democracy activists could return to criticizing Erdogan and "his animosity toward the media".

EasyJet plans to go ahead with scheduled flights but British Airways has cancelled flights to and from Turkey on Saturday. People take over a tank near the Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge during clashes with military forces in Istanbul on July 16, 2016.

Images broadcast on NTV on Saturday showed several dozen soldiers surrendering on a key bridge in Istanbul, connecting the Asian and European sides, with their hands in the air as they stepped away from tanks. Discarded gear was strewn on the ground.

The coup began with warplanes and helicopters roaring over Ankara and troops moving in to seal off the bridges over the Bosphorus Strait that links Europe and Asia in Istanbul. However, the sounds of huge blasts continued to ring out in the capital, Ankara, and Istanbul throughout the morning, including a bomb that hit the parliament complex.

A Turkish official who did not want to be named said soldiers had been deployed in other cities in Turkey, but did not specify which ones.

"In Turkey the coup d'etat era is over in a way that it will not be opened again", he stated.

Turkey scrapped the death penalty more than a decade ago.