Turkey accuses Muslim cleric Fethulla Gulen of planning coup

The country wants the US to extradite Fethulla Gulen who is there in self-imposed exile.

People take cover during clashes near the Bosphorus bridge as Turkish military clash with people at the entrance to the bridge in Istanbul. Picture: AFP

TURKEY - US secretary of state John Kerry says he has not received any request to extradite Muslim cleric Fethulla Gulen after the Turkish government accused Gulen's followers of orchestrating a military coup attempt in Turkey.

A section of the military took control of several parts of the capital Ankara and the city of Istanbul last night but were defeated by citizens and police responding to a call by President Tayyip Erdogan to defend their country.

Al Jazeera is reporting that over 250 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in the chaos.

Army generals are among the more than 2,000 people who've been arrested.

WATCH: Kerry: We stand by the government of Turkey

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım echoed Erdogan's statements by saying the failed coup was orchestrated and financed by radical leader Gulen and his movement.

The movement has officially been labelled a terrorist organisation and are known for attempts to destabilise the country.

An official extradition request for him has been made as he is currently in self-imposed exile in the US.

Yıldırım says he must return to Turkey to face charges of treason and terrorism as he is running out of options after the failed coup.

Turkey banned the death penalty 15 years ago but the prime minister an urgent meeting with parliamentarians and law makers is already on the agenda to find an appropriate punishment for all the coup plotters.


The International Relations Department (Dirco) says it's collecting information regarding all the affected South Africans in Turkey and will ensure that they are assisted as a matter of urgency.

Flights in and out of Istanbul were affected.

GALLERY: Turkey unrest.

Turkish airlines has announced this afternoon it has resumed operations at the Istanbul international airport.

Dirco's Nelson Kgwete says they working with the Turkish embassy and continue to monitor developments.

"Our embassy in Turkey is continuing to monitor the situation and we are aware of South African citizens who were affected as a result of their inability to move through the ports of entry."

Meanwhile, Yıldırım has assured citizens that the government will work to prevent a repeat of the chaos that gripped Turkey last night.

"The situation is completely under control and our commanders will be back at their duties."