A Turkish politician with the country's Justice and Development Party condemned the military's attempted overthrow of the government Friday, saying the "people have won this battle."
"The government will continue to govern as long as it has the mandate of the people," Jane Louise Kandur, a representative in the party's Istanbul administration, told TheBlaze in an email. "What happened tonight was the Turkish people standing up for democracy, protecting and defending their democratic rights."
People take over a tank near the Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge during clashes with military forces in Istanbul on July 16, 2016. Istanbul's bridges across the Bosphorus, the strait separating the European and Asian sides of the city, have been closed to traffic. Turkish military forces on July 16 opened fire on crowds gathered in Istanbul following a coup attempt, causing casualties, an AFP photographer said. The soldiers opened fire on grounds around the first bridge across the Bosphorus dividing Europe and Asia, said the photographer, who saw wounded people being taken to ambulances. / AFP / GURCAN OZTURK (Photo by GURCAN OZTURK/AFP/Getty Images)
At the start of the coup, which many have criticized for its seemingly haphazard execution, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged pro-government citizens to "gather in our squares, at our airports" to show support for his administration.
Throughout the night, shots rang out in Istanbul, a military jet flew very low to the ground above the Turkish capital of Ankara and military tanks rolled down the streets, but the majority — including some military leaders who denounced the coup — seemed to be following the request of Erdogan, the country's democratically-elected leader.
Late into the evening, a video circulating on Twitter appeared to show a group of citizens arresting anti-government soldiers.
At the height of the attempted coup, the armed forces were able to briefly seize control of state broadcasters — to include CNN Turk — and some airport facilities in Istanbul, but that control appeared to be short-lived.
"These putschists have tried to close down the state television; it was liberated by the people," Kandur said. "They have seized Hurriyet newspaper and CNN Turk. They seized the airport, it has been liberated."
Though there still seems to be some unrest on the ground, the Turkish National Intelligence Organization said late Friday that the environment was "back to normal" after the coup attempt. Prime Minister Binali Yildirim further bolstered that report, saying the situation was "largely under control."
In a strong rebuke of the anti-government operation, Kandur insisted the "people won."
"They have clearly stated that whether or not they voted for this government, they want to be governed by the ballot box," she said, "not by tanks."
After arriving back in Istanbul, his home town, Erdogan said those who participated in the coup would "pay for this in the harshest way."
"You have been given weapons by this nation and if you point your guns to the nation, that won’t be forgiven," he said, speaking from an Istanbul airport.
President Barack Obama, for his part, urged all parties in Turkey to back the democratically-elected government.
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