PETALING JAYA – A military attempt to take over the Istanbul police headquarters in Fatih had failed, according to a Malaysian eyewitness.
International relations student Amirulmukminin Amiruddin, better known to friends as al-Mahdi, witnessed the events first hand as he lives close to the Istanbul police headquarters with three other Malaysians.
“I am OK. Everyone has gathered at the police HQ,” he told The Star Online on Saturday morning via Whatsapp call.
Amirulmukminin said that members of the public had gone to the police station with their vehicles to strengthen the police barricade against the military who had attempted to take over the HQ.
“People just came. Bus drivers went to the police HQ with their buses and members of the public brought any big vehicle they could to help the police block military tanks from entering the police HQ,” he said, adding that there were even cranes in the barricade.
A shootout had taken place at the police station between the police and military.
He said that the public were throwing stones at army personnel and had voiced their hope that Ankara would not fall.
“There were not many army personnel and the police managed to capture them and bring them into the police station,” he said.
“There was a jet that flew exactly above our heads. It’s very terrifying. Usually jet planes are high up but this was very, very low. We could see its underside,” he said.
By about 4.40am Istanbul time (9.40am Malaysian time), Amirulmukminin reported that the police station has been secured by police officers.
“The police were trying to calm the situation down and told the public to disperse. Now everything is calmer and people are returning to their homes,” he said.
Amirulmukminin and his housemates are safe.
All flights at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport have been grounded due to Friday’s military coup. Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge and Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge are also closed.
Access to Facebook and social media has been cut. However, some Malaysian students kept connected to their social media accounts using proxy servers.
Malaysian classmates in Turkey are also keeping in contact via Whatsapp.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is safe at Marmaris on the Turkish coast where he was on holiday.
“We will overcome this,” Erdogan said, speaking on a video call to a mobile phone held up to the camera by an announcer on the Turkish sister station of CNN.
He said he will return swiftly return to Ankara, the capital.
Turkey’s military said on Friday it had seized power, but the prime minister said the attempted coup would be put down. – The Star Online