Portsmouth council leader caught up in Turkey coup

THE city's council leader has told of her concern while on holiday in Turkey during an attempted military coup.

Saturday, 16th July 2016, 9:31 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 6:11 pm
People gather around as Turkish police officers, loyal to the government, stand atop tanks abandoned by Turkish army officers. Picture: AP Photo/Emrah Gurel TURKEY_Coup_083327.JPG

Donna Jones is with family in the south of the country and said she has been advised to stay inside her hotel.

Speaking to The News from Turkey, Cllr Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘I did see it last night, it was about 11pm when it became evident.

‘We were following what’s going on through the night and did phone the Foreign Office in London and the embassy here in Turkey have a number for British nationals in Turkey.

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‘The advice which I got was to stay inside the hotel and be vigilant and to get in contact with people.

‘It’s a worrying time and we’re keeping an eye on what’s going on.

‘The internet went out at about 1am, it’s back on. I’ve just trying to stay in contact with people.’

Cllr Jones is in the south of the country away from clashes in Istanbul and Ankara.

Cllr Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council. Picture: Sarah Standing

It comes as Britons in Turkey were still being ‘strongly’ advised by the Foreign Office (FCO) to stay indoors as the country’s government claimed an attempted military coup had failed.

The Turkish Embassy in London said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was ‘in charge’ and denounced a ‘clique’ within the military which had attempted to overthrow him.

The comments followed a night of fighting in which at least 90 people were killed, with gunfire and explosions in Ankara and Istanbul and reports of shooting near the tourist resort of Marmaris.

New foreign secretary Boris Johnson said on Twitter he had spoken to Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu following a night of drama, and said: ‘I underlined UK support for the democratic elected government and institutions.’

A car burns during firefight between Turkish army and Turkish police, in Istanbul's Taksim square, early Saturday. Picture: AP Photo/Cavit Ozgul TURKEY_Coup_080085.JPG

A senior Turkish official said 1,563 military personnel have been detained as the government claimed the coup attempt appeared to have failed.

The Turkish Embassy said in a statement: ‘The situation unfolded in Turkey was a coup attempt to overthrow the democratically-elected government. This attempt was foiled by the Turkish people in unity and solidarity. Our president and government are in charge. Turkish armed forces was not involved in the coup attempt in its entirety. It was conducted by a clique within the armed forces and received a well-deserved response from our nation.’

The state-run news agency confirmed the death toll had risen to about 90 – up from initial estimates of 60 – with 1,154 reported injured.

Full advice from the Foreign Office is here: gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/turkey

Cllr Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council. Picture: Sarah Standing
A car burns during firefight between Turkish army and Turkish police, in Istanbul's Taksim square, early Saturday. Picture: AP Photo/Cavit Ozgul TURKEY_Coup_080085.JPG