The Turkish government has reportedly accelerated its pace in arresting all alleged coup plotters involved in the failed attempt to take over leadership from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to media reports, a total of 6,000 has so far been detained as confirmed by the justice minister who said today Sunday 17, that “6,000 people had been detained in the investigation, including three of the country’s top generals and hundreds of soldiers”.
In addition to those mentioned by Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, dozens of arrest warrants have been issued for judges and prosecutors deemed to be government opponents, AP reported.
The government has also dismissed nearly 3,000 judges and prosecutors from their posts, while investigators were preparing court cases to send the conspirators to trial on charges of attempting to overthrow the government.
“The cleansing (operation) is continuing. Some 6,000 detentions have taken place. The number could surpass 6,000,” Bozdag said in televised comments.
The botched coup, which saw warplanes fly over key government installations and tanks roll up in major cities, ended hours later when loyal government forces regained control of the military and civilians took to the streets in support of Erdogan.
Chanting, dancing and waving flags, tens of thousands of Turks marched through the streets into the early hours of Sunday in half a dozen cities after officials urged them to defend democracy and back Erdogan, Turkey’s top politician for 13 years.
Image: The Turkish government has reportedly accelerated its pace in arresting all alleged coup plotters involved in the failed attempt to take over leadership from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
It was an emotional display by Turks, who rallied in headscarves and long dresses, T-shirts and work boots, some walking hand-in-hand with their children. Rather than toppling him, the attempted coup that left some 265 dead and 1,440 wounded appears to have bolstered Erdogan’s popularity and grip on power.
The Yeni Safak newspaper used the headline “Traitors of the country,” while the Hurriyet newspaper declared “Democracy’s victory.”
“Just a small group from Turkish armed forces stood up against our government … but we, the Turkish nation, stand together and repulse it back,” Gozde Kurt, a 16-year-old student at the rally in Istanbul, said Sunday morning.
Gen. Umit Dunda said the dead included at least 104 conspirators, describing them as mainly officers from the Air Force, the military police and armored units.
Officials claimed the conspirators were loyal to moderate U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan has often accused of attempting to overthrow the government.
Gulen, a staunch democracy advocate who lives in exile in Pennsylvania, is a former Erdogan ally turned bitter foe who has been put on trial in absentia in Turkey. He strongly denies the charges.
Funeral ceremonies and prayers for those killed in the coup were held in Ankara and Istanbul on Sunday, where relatives beside themselves with grief. Prayers were read simultaneously from Turkey’s 85,000 mosques at noon to honor those who died in an attempted military coup.
Sela prayers are traditionally recited from mosques during funerals, though they are also performed to rally people, as they were all night Friday during tense coup hours.
A government official said autopsies have been completed on 165 people, including 115 reclaimed by their families. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.
Forty policemen, including twin brothers, were killed when the renegade soldiers attacked a special forces station in Ankara.