Turkey coup: 754 detained

Turkey coup: 754 detained

Ankara, July 16 (IANS) Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag on Saturday announced that a total of 754, mostly military officers, were detained over charges of an attempted military coup.

This doubled the figure at 336 announced by sources from the Interior Ministry earlier on Saturday, Hurriyet Daily News reported.

Anadolu Agency said those who were detained were members of the so-called pro-Gulenist terror organisation.

It was believed that there are high-ranking officers among the detained.

English roadcaster CNNTurk said four of them were generals and 29 of them were colonels.

Justice Minister Bozdag had informed that state prosecutors in all 81 provinces have already launched investigations over the coup attempt that started on Friday night, saying “Detentions are mostly taken place in Ankara and Istanbul but there are other detentions in many other places of Turkey.”

At least 60 people were killed in overnight clashes when people took to the streets defying the military to take over the country, Hurriyet Daily News said.

According to state prosecutor, 42 were killed in capital Ankara including 17 policemen.

Turkey coup: Exiled Muslim cleric denies any involvement

Ankara, July 16 (IANS) Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who lives in exile in the US state of Pennsylvania and who once was an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has condemned the ateempted military coup attempt and denied any involvement in it.

“I condemn, in the strongest terms, the attempted military coup in Turkey,” he said in an emailed statement. “The government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force.”

“I pray to God for Turkey, for Turkish citizens and for all those currently in Turkey that this situation is resolved peacefully and quickly,” he added.

“As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt. I categorically deny such accusations.”

Erdogan, who has returned to Istanbul and declared he wass in control of the government, has blamed the coup attempt on the followers of Gulen.

Gulen has for years lived as a recluse at the Golden Generation Worship and Retreat Centre, a compound in Saylorsburg, in the Poconos in Pennsylvania.

His group, Alliance for Shared Values, describes itself as “an umbrella non-profit organisation serving as a voice for civic, culture and service organisations” across the country.

His movement promotes a version of Islam that embraces science, education and interfaith dialogue, which has earned him millions of followers but also drawn the suspicion of many in Turkey’s establishment, writes The New York Times.

His movement has been feared by some for its ability to mobilise considerable resources and for its influence among decision-makers.

Erdogan, speaking at Istanbul Ataturk Airport on early Saturday, said that a coup attempt by members of the armed forces loyal to his rival Gulen, amounted to “treason”.

“A minority within the armed forces has unfortunately been unable to stomach Turkey’s unity,” Erdogan said, adding that individuals loyal to Gulen had “penetrated the armed forces and the police, among other government agencies, over the past 40 years.”

“What is being perpetrated is a rebellion and a treason,” Erdogan said, adding “They will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey.”

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