7/18/2016

Turkey Widens Post-coup Purge, Demands Washington Hand Over Cleric


There are conflicting reports about whether a former Turkish air force commander has confessed to planning Friday’ s attempted military coup . At least 232 people died and 1, 400 were wounded in the ensuing violence, and there have been mass arrests .

The state- run Anadolu news agency quoted Gen Akin Ozturk as telling interrogators he had “ acted with intention to stage a coup ” . But two private broadcasters said the general had denied playing a role .

NTV quoted him as saying : “ I am not someone who has planned or directed the coup attempt. I don ’ t know who did. ” Anadolu said he was one of 112 generals and admirals who had been detained .
Fifty had been remanded in custody pending trial, it added . The interior ministry also reportedly dismissed almost 9, 000 police officers yesterday, as part of a purge of officials suspected of involvement.

That followed the arrest of 6, 000 military personnel and suspension of almost 3, 000 judges over the weekend.
Turkey ’ s Western allies have expressed concern at the crackdown and urged President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to respond in a measured way.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Mr . Erdogan yesterday that Turkey ’ s ambitions to join the European Union would be over if he carried through on a threat to reinstate the death penalty .
Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg praised the great courage of the Turkish people, but added that a valued ally had to ensure full respect for democracy.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meanwhile dismissed as “ unacceptable” a claim by the EU enlargement commissioner , Johannes Hahn , that the government in Ankara had drawn up arrest lists before the coup attempt.
The government has blamed the coup attempt on supporters of a US- based Muslim cleric , Fethullah Gulen