Turkey attempted coup: 6,000 people detained

17/07/2016 - 16:42 Published in News/General

So far 6,000 people have been detained in Turkey in relation to a failed coup, with more detentions expected, broadcaster NTV said on Sunday, citing Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag.

"The judicial process on this will continue," NTV reported Bozdag as saying.

The government quickly began a purge of soldiers and judiciary officials allegedly connected to the plot after it became clear the attempt had failed on Saturday.

"We are not after revenge. If they have guns and tanks, we have faith," President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, speaking a funeral for some of the civilians killed in the violence. 

"We are not after revenge. So let us think before taking each step. We will act with reason and experience. The Gulen Movement's step received its response. The putschists are the representatives of Gulen's terrorist organisation."

Erdogan has accused an exiled businessman and cleric, Fethullah Gulen, of orchestrating the violence and is demanding the US extradite him. Gulen, though, denies any involvement and has publicly condemned the events of Friday and Saturday. 

By Saturday evening, 2,839 military personnel had been detained, with the number of arrests expected to rise, according to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

Among those arrested is General Bekir Ercan Van, commander of the Incirlik air base from which US aircraft launch airstrikes on Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militants in Syria and Iraq (ISIL, also known as ISIS), an official said.

"Control across Turkey has been restored and there are no clashes at the moment," a senior official said, adding that although a few groups of coup plotters were holding out in Istanbul, they no longer posed a risk.

"There are still a few important soldiers on the run and being sought. I believe they will be captured shortly," the official told Reuters.

The top judicial body, the HSYK, dismissed 2,745 judges on Saturday, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

Additionally, a senior Turkish official told Al Jazeera that at least two judges from the constitutional court and 10 judges from the HSYK had been detained.

'One of the masterminds'

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said that the judges were detained based on "financial transactions and communications between the individuals in question and the putschists", but added that detention did not necessarily mean conviction.

Another senior official, also speaking anonymously, told Al Jazeera that a top army general was also being held over his alleged involvement.

"General Erdal Ozturk, commander of the Third Army, has been detained," he said.

"Our sense is that the would-be junta had made preparations for some time. They had determined which military officers would take over as governors, heads of government agencies ... but they were forced to rush due to the upcoming Supreme Military Council meeting," he said.

The official described Ozturk as "one of the masterminds" behind the plan.

The coup attempt began at around 19:30 GMT on Friday with the partial closure by troops of two major bridges over the Bosphorus in Istanbul as tanks moved into the streets and fighter jets were seen in the skies.


Source: Al Jazeera and agencies