American Family Stuck in Istanbul's International Airport Amid Violent Coup Attempt

Atatürk Airport was closed for much of Friday during the military coup attempt.

Scott Wiggins, his wife and their three children were waiting for their next flight in Atatürk Airport when a faction of the Turkish military took over state TV, imposed martial law and a curfew and attacked the police headquarters in the capital of Ankara on Friday night.

"We managed to find a corner of a lounge to stay the night and wait for news," Wiggins told ABC News. "There's tension in the air because of what occurred here last month."

As the coup attempt was under way Friday night and into Saturday morning, explosions, gunfire and the buzz of military aircraft were heard around Istanbul and Ankara. Video showed protesters climbing onto military tanks near Atatürk Airport and feverishly chanting the name of the Turkish president.

"Last night there were several false alarm stampedes. The sonic boom of low flying jets rattled the whole place. We're stressed to say the least," Wiggins told ABC News.

"With the unflinching will of the people, Turkey has awakened to a new day with a much stronger sense of democracy and freedom," Turkish Airlines said. "Upon the call of our President H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan our operations at Istanbul Atatürk Airport are now back to normal and flights have begun."

But the United States is still advising its government employees in the country to only go out during daylight hours, avoid unnecessary travel and not go to the Atatürk Airport. U.S. citizens in Turkey were encouraged not to go to the U.S. Embassy or consulates, to avoid areas where there are demonstrations or large crowds, and generally to use extreme caution.

"We are still hearing reports of sporadic gunfire," the U.S. Embassy in Ankara said in a security message to U.S. citizens. "Security at Atatürk Airport is significantly diminished."

"All airline carriers, regardless of country of registry, are prohibited from flying into the United States from Turkey either directly or via third country," the security message says.

Although Wiggins said he had seen some activity on the airport's flight board today, he didn't see any planes, flight crews or pilots to support the notion that operations are truly back up and running.

"We aren't sure what to do," he told ABC News. "We'd be happy to wait out a flight if it seemed things were getting organized, but we aren't convinced it is."

Since speaking with ABC News, Wiggins and his family have left Atatürk Airport and are in a hotel.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said 161 were killed in the overnight coup attempt and 1,440 people were injured. Speaking at a press conference Saturday afternoon local time, Yildirim referred to the dead as "martyrs."

Erdogan returned to Istanbul late Friday night after going to an undisclosed location and vowed that those who carried out the coup will "pay."

The prime minister said the government has detained 2,839 military members. And according to Gen. Umit Dundar, who was appointed Turkey's acting Chief of General Staff, 104 people involved in the attempted coup have been killed.

According to the country's Ministry of Interior, 29 colonels and five generals were relieved of their duties.

About 200 unarmed soldiers left Turkey's military headquarters and surrendered to police, the country's state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

ABC News' Kirit Radia, Maia Davis, Martha Raddatz, Engin Bas, Rex Sakamoto, Devin Villacis and Dominick Proto contributed to this report.

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