As coup attempt unfolds, Turkish president appears via Facetime on live TV

A frequent censor of the Internet, Erdogan used it to speak to the nation

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a Facetime call into a CNN Turk news broadcast on July 16, 2016.
Credit: IDGNS

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan placed what appeared to be a Facetime call to a national news broadcast early on Saturday while the world tried to figure out if a military coup against him had succeeded.

Erdogan appeared on a journalist's iPhone, held up to the camera so viewers could see and hear what he had to say. He claimed that he remained in control and urged the public to take to the streets to oppose the coup attempt.

Erdogan's use of modern technology to speak to the nation comes with a heap of irony. He has been keen to shut off access to the Internet during sensitive times and go after those who try to get around such bans and those who insult him. Reporters Without Borders says Erdogan has "systematically" censored the Internet.

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An announcer reads out a military statement on state-run TRT1 TV on July 16, 2016.

The broadcast was aired on CNN Turk, one of a number of independent news channels serving the country. As it was being shown, the state-run station TRT was repeatedly broadcasting a statement from the military announcing it had seized control of the country.

Later in the evening Abdullah Gül, who served as the country's president from 2007 to 2014, made a video call into another broadcaster, NTV.

As with Erdogan, a reporter held the phone up to the screen and used a small microphone to relay what Gül was saying to the live broadcast.

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Abdullah Gül, former president of Turkey, makes a video call into NTV during a coup attempt on July 16, 2016.

What's actually happening in Turkey remains unclear at this point, but tanks are out on some streets and flights from Istanbul's international airport have been halted.

The U.S. State Department has confirmed gunfire in the capital and asked citizens to stay indoors.

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Turkish TV broadcasts show tanks on the streets after a reported coup on July 16, 2016.

Access to Twitter and Facebook was quickly cut soon after the first reports of an attempted coup began emerging from the country. Doug Madory, an analyst at Dyn Research in the U.S., said it appeared Turkish telecommunications authorities were blocking access to the sites.

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