South African journalist in Turkey safe amid coup danger

2016-07-16 09:30
Turkish soldiers on the Asian side of Istanbul. (Emrah Gurel, AP)

Turkish soldiers on the Asian side of Istanbul. (Emrah Gurel, AP)

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Johannesburg - A South African woman working as a producer at Turkish broadcaster TRT says she was informed by colleagues that soldiers who attempted to carry out a coup d’état entered their offices and demanded their cellphones at gunpoint.

“They took over the TRT World offices and via gunpoint demanded the mobile phones of staff… My colleagues and I are safe and have been sent home until further notice,” Mishka Daries wrote on a Facebook published just before 00:00.

She said she could hear the athaan (Islamic call to prayer) and the takbir (proclamation of Allah hu Akbar - God is the greatest) echoing from all the mosques.

“The Presidency of the Religious Authority in Turkey has instructed imams, muftis and other officials to read the athaan and protest the attempted coup.

“Millions of people have taken to the streets all over Turkey with car hooters sounding as well as chanting from all corners,” she said.

READ: EU: No alternative to democracy in Turkey

Daries is originally from Cape Town and is working at the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) as a planning producer.

According to French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) at least 60 people have been killed and 336 detained in a night of violence across Turkey sparked when elements in the military staged an attempted coup.

According to a senior Turkish official the majority of those killed were civilians and most of those detained are soldiers.

However, state-run Anadolu Agency reports 754 members of armed forces have been detained across Turkey.

Erdogan has accused reclusive Islamic preacher, Fethullah Gülen, who lives in a tiny town in the Pocono Mountains of the US state of Pennsylvania, of being behind the coup.

Gülen, 75, was once a close ally of Erdogan but the two fell out in recent years as Erdogan became suspicious of Gulen's movement, Hizmet, and its powerful presence in Turkish society, including the media, police and judiciary.

The preacher moved to the US in 1999, before he was charged with treason in his native country.

Read more on:    turkey  |  security

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