A COBR meeting was held to discuss the Turkish military coup and the current work to support British nationals in the country.
Cabinet Office Briefing Room meetings (also referred to as COBRA) are a type of crisis response committee set up to co-ordinate the actions of bodies within the Government of the United Kingdom in response to instances of national or regional crisis, or during events abroad with major implications for Britain. The composition of a COBR meeting depends on the nature of the incident but it is usually chaired by the Prime Minister or another senior minister with other key ministers as appropriate.
A Number 10 spokesperson said:
“The National Security Adviser chaired a COBR meeting of senior officials this morning to discuss the situation in Turkey. Representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the intelligence agencies, the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office and the Department for Transport attended. The ambassador and embassy staff in Ankara also joined by video link.
They noted that the situation in Turkey continued to stabilise, but that we needed to maintain our focus on the situation and monitor any developments over the coming days and weeks, including close cooperation and dialogue with the Turkish government.
British consular staff are working around the clock to support and reassure British nationals in Turkey at the moment, with a particular focus on supporting those waiting for planes in Turkey’s main airports. Flights are starting to get back to normal and backlogs of passengers are beginning to ease.
Officials agreed that we should monitor the situation on the ground closely over the coming days and keep the travel advice to Turkey under review.”
The Turkish military coup failed on Saturday morning as soldiers surrender after many dead and hundreds arrested.
Turkish President Erdogan had made a statement on Turkish television using his iPhone and FaceTime, calling on people to take to the streets to oppose the uprising.
Crowds confronted the coup plotters and gunfire and explosions were heard. The president has now returned to Istanbul, calling the coup attempt an “act of treason” and saying the army must be cleansed. He told crowds the government was now back in control.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim ordered the military to shoot down aircraft being used by coup plotters, with a helicopter being shot down by an F-16.
17 Turkish police officers were killed in a helicopter attack at the police special forces headquarters just outside of Ankara.
Reuters reported that in early hours of Saturday local time, the coup appears to have “crumbled” as crowds defied pro-coup military orders and gathered in major squares of Istanbul and Ankara to oppose the coup. Reuters also reported pro-coup soldiers surrendering to the police in Taksim Square, Istanbul.