Turkish authorities pressed on Sunday with a ruthless crackdown against suspects in the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with 6,000 people detained as he vowed to stamp out the “vir
Turkish authorities pressed on Sunday with a ruthless crackdown against suspects in the failed coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with 6,000 people detained as he vowed to stamp out the “virus” of the putschists.
World leaders, including US President Barack Obama, have strongly condemned Friday’s attempted takeover, but also urged Turkey to respect the rule of law in its aftermath, especially after pictures emerged showing the rough treatment of some arrested coup plotters.
Justice minister Bekir Bozdag said on Sunday around 6,000 people had been detained in “clean-up operations” and that the number would rise. They include senior Army commanders, judges, prosecutors and a military aide to Mr Erdogan, Mr Ali Yazici, who had only been working for the President since August, state-run news agency Anadolu reported.
The suspects are being charged with membership of an “armed terrorist organisation” and attempting to overthrow the government by force, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.
A resurgent Mr Erdogan told a crowd of thousands at a funeral for the victims in Istanbul that there would be no let-up in the fight against his enemy Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Islamic preacher he accuses of running the “terrorist group” and masterminding the coup.
“We will continue to clean the virus from all state bodies because this virus has spread. Unfortunately like a cancer, this virus has enveloped the state,” he said.
The President broke down in tears at another Istanbul funeral — that of his friend Erol Olcak and his 16-year-old son, shot dead on the Bosphorus bridge while protesting against the coup on Friday night. “Erol was an old friend of mine,” Mr Erdogan told mourners. Unable to control his tears, he said: “I cannot speak any further. Condolences to our nation.”
According to the government, 161 civilians and regular troops lost their lives in the bid by an army faction to overthrow Mr Erdogan by seizing key strategic points in Istanbul and Ankara. A total of 104 coup plotters were also killed.
Turkish authorities have made clear they will show no mercy in the wake of the coup, which sparked fears of chaos in the strategic Nato country of 80 million people.
It was the biggest challenge to Mr Erdogan’s rule in his 13 years as Prime Minister and President.
The group behind the coup, which called itself the Council for Peace in the Homeland, said it was necessary to stop the increasingly authoritarian President from undermining Turkish democracy. But the 62-year-old leader successfully mobilised supporters into the streets to face down the plotters.