PM Kvirikashvili: Georgia supports Turkey’s democratically elected government

Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili spoke to reporters following an emergency session of the National Security Council of Georgia. Photo from the press office of the Prime Minister., 16 Jul 2016 - 13:10, Tbilisi,Georgia

Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili has reacted to the attempted military coup in neighbouring Turkey by stressing it was "very important” for Georgia that the democratically elected government of Turkey was not under threat.

Kvirikashvili spoke to reporters in Tbilisi after attending a special session of Georgia’s National Security Council (NSC) late on Friday evening. He highlighted Turkey’s status as a "strategic partner” for Georgia, and stability in Turkey was critical for Georgia.

The head of the Georgian Government also spoke about the NSC meeting, noting participants had reviewed conditions on Georgia’s borders in light of the coup attempt launched against Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Information from the State Security Service and Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia was analysed at the meeting, said Kvirikashvili. He also urged Georgian citizens to refrain from travelling to Turkey due to the current unrest in the country.

We have limited border travel across to Turkey for the safety of our citizens, including the closing of air traffic […] We would advise our citizens to refrain from travelling to Turkey until the situation becomes stable,” Georgia’s PM told reporters.

Nearly 50 civilians were killed and over 1,000 wounded in fighting when a section of Turkey’s armed forces initiated a coup on Friday night in an attempt to overthrow the president. Incidents took place in capital Ankara and the main city Istanbul.

Martial law was declared and a curfew was imposed by state agencies as the fighting between rebels and governmental forces continued during the night.

Turkey’s president Erdogan said his government was in control of the situation. Earlier this morning in Istanbul about 50 soldiers supporting the coup were captured on video surrendering on the Bosphorus Bridge - which they had earlier blocked to prevent movement of traffic from east to west.