President Recep Erdogan on Friday, said that the number of people who were arrested in Turkey following the last week’s attempted coup has increased to 10,410. He said that he number was at about 9,000, adding that the 4,060 people who were arrested earlier have been placed in detention.
The rapid pace of arrests which Erdogan insists is targeting the supporters of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. Erdogan had said that the suspects were behind the failed July 15 coup which has disturbed many of Turkey’s Western allies, who said they see Turkey going down.
Meanwhile, Ankara has intensified checks on Turkish citizens leaving the country in a move to prevent people associated with the attempted coup from escaping the authorities. “Those travelling from any of the country’s international airports will now have to provide proof of their employment. Civil servants as well as their spouses and children will need authorisation by their employer to travel.
“Meanwhile other employees will have to prove that they work in the private sector and are therefore not civil servants,’’ sources close to the government said. The government has vowed to “clean” the civil service from Gulen supporters. All civil servants have been banned from going on holiday, while those currently abroad have been asked to return home. Turkey entered into a 90-day state of emergency on Thursday, which Erdogan has said is necessary to restore order after the coup, which left 260 dead.
ALSO READ: BREAKING: Ribadu returns to APC, dumps PDP
“Turkey is also demanding that the U.S. extradite Gulen. Citizens have to defend themselves against the “most insidious and vile coup attempt in the history of the Turkish people,” Erdogan said. People have indeed continued to celebrate the crushing of the coup since the weekend. Thousands gathered overnight on the Bosporous Bridge, which was occupied by troops in tanks who fired on civilians during the coup attempt.
Yasin Aktay, spokesman of Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) said “we cannot understand the criticism we’re getting from Europe about this. “There have been two recent incidents in France and Belgium where terrorist attacks resulted in six months of states of emergency, which were extended for six months.” He added that Turkey had been the victim of multiple terrorist attacks during this time and refrained until now from issuing a state of emergency.
“The fact that we did it in this case should be applauded much more, out of the 10,410 people arrested, 7,423 were soldiers; 287 police; and 2,014 judges and prosecutors. “Furthermore, 686 civilians had been arrested.” Among the soldiers were 162 generals, almost half the generals in the second-largest army of the NATO alliance.
ALSO READ: South Korea Probes Google
“Beyond the arrests, more than 37,500 civil servants and police officers have been suspended. Additionally, 21,000 teachers in private schools have lost their licences,” Aktay said. In the light of events in Turkey, Germany has said it would slow down talks on the country’s accession to the EU. Whether or not negotiations would be halted completely, however, was not immediately clear. Germany’s government spokesman Steffen Seifert said in Berlin that “this is not a German decision after all.”
The 28-member bloc started accession negotiations with Turkey 11 years ago, though progress has been slow with only 15 out of 35 negotiation chapters having been addressed and only one completed. Meanwhile, the U.S. military said that the power supply to the Incirlik air base in Turkey, which was cut off following the coup, had been reinstated. (dpa/NAN)