ISTANBUL — Turkey’s government, rallying behind its defiant leader, rounded up thousands of military personnel on Saturday who were said to have taken part in an attempted coup, moving swiftly to re-establish control after a night of chaos and intrigue that left hundreds dead.
By midday, there were few signs that those who had taken part in the coup attempt were still able to challenge the government, and many officials declared the uprising a failure.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking to hundreds of flag-waving supporters outside his home in Istanbul on Saturday evening, declared that “the strong aren’t always right, but the right are always strong.” He called on the United States to arrest an exile living in Pennsylvania who Mr. Erdogan claimed was behind the coup attempt.
As the insurrection unfolded Friday night, beginning with the seizing of two bridges in Istanbul by military forces, Mr. Erdogan was not heard from for hours. He finally addressed the nation from an undisclosed location, speaking on his cellphone’s FaceTime app — a dramatic scene that seemed to suggest a man on the verge of losing power. But in the early hours of Saturday, he landed in Istanbul, and steadily found his voice again, lashing out at his opponents, and one in particular.
Mr. Erdogan placed blame for the intrigue on the followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania, who was the president’s ally until a bitter falling out three years ago. Mr. Gulen’s followers were known to have a strong presence in Turkey’s police and judiciary, but less so in the military.
On Saturday morning, Mr. Erdogan said, referring to Mr. Gulen, “I have a message for Pennsylvania: You have engaged in enough treason against this nation. If you dare, come back to your country.”
On Saturday evening, Mr. Erdogan, standing atop a bus outside his home, pressed this theme in a thundering message to his supporters, calling on the United States to arrest Mr. Gulen and send him back to Turkey.
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Even before Mr. Erdogan’s speech, the gist of which American officials have heard before, Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday that he would listen to any inquiries Turkey might have about the cleric.
“We fully anticipate that there will be questions raised about Mr. Gulen,” he said.
In a statement released on the website of his group, Alliance for Shared Values, and in an interview with The New York Times on Saturday, Mr. Gulen condemned the coup, denied any link to it and expressed support for the democratic process, saying that “through military intervention, democracy cannot be achieved.”
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, calling the insurrection “a stain in the history of democracy,” put the death toll in the clashes at 265, including civilians, pro-government forces and troops involved in the coup attempt, and said 1,440 people had been wounded. He added that 2,839 military personnel had been detained.
Later in the day, Defense Minister Fikri Isik said that the state authorities were in full control of all areas in Turkey but that vigilance was required. “We have prevented the coup,” Mr. Isik said, “but it is too soon to say that the danger is over.”
Noting the intensity of the violence that had erupted, Mr. Erdogan said that Turkish fighter jets had bombed tanks on the streets of Ankara, and that a military helicopter being used by the coup plotters had been shot down.
There was also a battle early Saturday at Turkey’s intelligence headquarters in Ankara, which government forces later secured, and a Turkish official said the intelligence chief, Hakan Fidan, had been taken to a secure location.
In a news briefing on Saturday, Turkey’s top military officer, Gen. Umit Dundar, the acting head of the general staff, said that “the coup attempt was rejected by the chain of command immediately.”
“The people have taken to the streets and voiced their support for democracy,” he said, adding that “the nation will never forget this betrayal.” General Dundar emphasized that only a small minority within the military, including members of the air force, a military-style police force and armored units, had revolted.
“The army is ours,” Mr. Erdogan said Saturday night. “I am the chief commander.”
Supporters of the government demonstrated in Istanbul and other cities on Saturday night, chanting their disdain for the coup attempt as drivers honked their horns. “We will not fall, everything for our country,” some people shouted as they waved large Turkish flags in the air.
Even as it appeared that the elected government had re-established control, many questions remained, including who was behind the plot and what long-term damage had been done to the political system of Turkey, a NATO ally and important partner to the United States in the fight against the Islamic State.
Much of the violence overnight related to the coup attempt was in Ankara, where different branches of the security forces fought one another over control of government buildings, including the Parliament building, where several explosions were reported.
Early Saturday, soldiers surrendered on a bridge that traverses the Bosporus, one of two bridges that the military shut down as the coup attempt began Friday evening. Footage showed abandoned military clothing and helmets along the bridge. The government also moved on a military school in Istanbul, arresting dozens.
Disciplinary actions extended to the judicial system on Saturday as an oversight body, the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, announced that 2,745 judges had been dismissed, the Anadolu agency reported.
Turkey has a long history of military involvement in politics — there have been three coups since 1960, and the military forced another government to step down — and as the country became deeply polarized in recent years between supporters of Mr. Erdogan’s Islamist government and those loyal to Turkey’s secular traditions, many wondered if the military would intervene. Some, quietly, had even hoped it would.
But once the coup was attempted, people in the country, even those bitterly opposed to Mr. Erdogan, seemed to have no desire for a return to military rule. Turks across the political spectrum, including the main opposition parties that represent secular Turks, nationalists and Kurds, opposed the coup. So did many top generals, highlighting that the attempt apparently did not have deep support even in the military.
Speaking from Luxembourg, Mr. Kerry reiterated the United States’ support for the Erdogan government. “We stand by the government of Turkey,” he said.
Mr. Kerry said it was not surprising that the United States and Turkey’s other NATO allies had not been aware of the coup before it occurred.
“If you’re planning a coup, you don’t exactly advertise it to your partners in NATO,” Mr. Kerry said. “It surprised everybody, including the people in Turkey. I must say it does not appear to be a very brilliantly planned or executed event.”
Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany expressed concern about the developments in Turkey and called for a return to the rule of law, under the democratically elected government. Ms. Merkel said political change should take place only through democratic procedures.
“Tanks on the streets and attacks from the air against their own people are against the law,” she said.
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