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  Rebels who tried to ‘kill’ Tayyip Erdogan captured

Rebels who tried to ‘kill’ Tayyip Erdogan captured

REUTERS | DAREN BUTLER AND YESIM DIKMEN
Published : Aug 2, 2016, 6:15 am IST
Updated : Aug 2, 2016, 6:15 am IST

Turkish special forces captured a group of rebel commandos who tried to seize or kill President Tayyip Erdogan during a failed coup, and a government minister said plotters would “never see God’s sun

Turkish special forces captured a group of rebel commandos who tried to seize or kill President Tayyip Erdogan during a failed coup, and a government minister said plotters would “never see God’s sun as long as they breathe”.

Drones and helicopters pinpointed the location of the 11 fugitive commandos in forested hills around the Mediterranean resort of Marmaris after a two-week manhunt, an official said on Monday.

They were part of a group that attacked a hotel where Mr Erdogan was holidaying on the night of the July 15 coup bid.

The operation took place overnight, after the government tightened its control over the military by dismissing over 1,000 more soldiers, widening the post-coup purges of state institutions that have targeted tens of thousands of people.

The coup attempt and resulting purges have shocked Turkey, which last saw a violent military power grab in 1980, and have shaken confidence in the stability of a Nato member key to the US-led fight against Islamic State and to stopping illegal migration to Europe.

Economy minister Nihat Zeybekci said coup plotters would bitterly regret trying to overthrow Turkey’s democracy, in words reflecting the depth of anger among the thousands of Turks who have attended rallies to condemn the coup night after night.

“We will make them beg. We will stuff them into holes, they will suffer such punishment in those holes that they will never see God’s sun as long as they brea-the,” Mr Zeybekci was quoted by the Dogan news agency as telling an anti-coup protest in the western town of Usak over the weekend.

“They will not hear a human voice again. ‘Kill us’ they will beg,” he said.

The United States’ top military official, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunfo-rd, was due to meet PM Binali Yildirim in Ank-ara on Monday after visiting the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, used by the US-led coalition for bombing raids in Syria.

More than 230 people were killed in the attempted coup, many of them civilians, and mo-re than 2,000 injured. Mr Erdogan was almost killed or captured, officials close to him have said.

Location: Turkey, Istanbul