112 generals, admirals, thousands of judges arrested in Turkey
ISTANBUL: Turkey has detained a total of 112 generals and admirals and thousands of judges besides suspending 8,000 policemen in the wake of the failed coup aimed at overthrowing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, state media said on Monday.
The top military figures have been detained in sweeps across the country after Friday’s attempted putsch, the Anadolu news agency said, in what appears to be a major purge of the armed forces. They are now being taken to courts to decide on remanding them in custody.
Ten generals have already been remanded in custody ahead of trial, the Dogan news agency said. Those detained are accused of seeking to violate the Turkish constitution and attempting to overthrow the authorities by force. They are also accused of belonging to what the authorities call the Fethullahci Terror Organisation (FETO) led by Fethullah Gulen, the exiled US-based preacher who Erdogan blames for the coup.
Gulen’s supporters say their group, which they call Hizmet (Service), is entirely peaceful.Meanwhile, a senior security official said 8,000 cops have been removed across the country, including in Istanbul and the capital Ankara, due to alleged links with the failed coup attempt.
Anadolu news agency quoting the interior ministry said 9,000 officials have been dismissed so far. A total of 8,777 public personnel, including 7,899 police, one provincial governor and 29 governors of towns have been dismissed, the ministry said. They also include 614 members of the police force that looks after domestic security, it added.
Meanwhile, Turkey’s Western allies have warned against reinstating the death penalty.The United States and European Union have sternly warned Erdogan against excessive retribution. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman denounced “revolting scenes of caprice and revenge against soldiers on the streets” after disturbing pictures emerged of the treatment of some detained suspects.
The authorities have also detained General Mehmet Disli, who conducted the operation to capture chief-of-staff Hulusi Akar during the stand-off, an official said.
“We also urge the government of Turkey to uphold thehighest standards of respect for the nation’s democratic institutions and the rule of law,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters after talks with EU foreign ministers.
Responding to the criticism, Yildirim said the plotters would be brought to account but Turkey would “act within the law”.EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini said, “Let me be very clear… no country can become an EU state if it introduces the death penalty.”
Yildirim said it would be wrong to “act in haste”, calling for a parliamentary debate on the issue. There has also been concern about the nature of the arrests which have appeared aimed at humiliating the suspects.
Anadolu published pictures of the arrest of former air force commander Akin Ozturk, who was described as the main plotter of the rebellion, bent forwards, facing a wall with hands tied behind his back.
Turkish prosecutors on Monday also started questioning 27 generals and admirals over the failed coup attempt, the state-run media reported.Anadolu said the group includes Akin Ozturk, who has been described as the ringleader of the foiled uprising and also confessing to his role in the rebellion.
Ozturk has denied he was involved and in statements he made to Turkish media insisted he worked to quell Friday’s uprising. He served as head of the air force until 2015 and is a member of High Military Council (YAS), the top body overseeing the armed forces.
Ozturk was among thousands of soldiers detained, pictured on Sunday in handcuffs wearing a striped polo shirt at Ankara police headquarters.
Meanwhile, the Turkish government ordered police forces around the country to down any helicopters without warning while President Erdogan said he ordered all the country’s F-16 jet planes to patrol the country’s airspace.
The news came hours after Turkish security forces clashed with coup-plotters resisting arrest at Istanbul’s second airport, and at an airbase in central Turkey.
Meanwhile, a Greek court will Thursday decide the fate of eight Turkish military officers who fled across the border by helicopter after the failed coup in Turkey and who Ankara wants to see extradited.
The turbulence has raised concern about the stability of Turkey, a key Nato member which is also part of the international coalition against Islamic State militants in Syria. It has also hit financial markets, with the lira at one point losing five percent in value against the dollar although it rallied slightly on Monday.
Yildirim said 208 people were killed during the coup bid, including 145 civilians, 60 police and three loyalist soldiers. In addition, the military said 104 coup plotters were killed.