Crackdown on coup suspects continues

By Agence France-Presse in Istanbul, Turkey ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-07-19 07:32:33

Turkish security forces launched fresh raids on Monday in a relentless crackdown against the suspected plotters of a coup that left over 290 dead, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mooted reintroducing the death penalty to punish them.

Erdogan faced down the coup bid late on Friday by elements in the military disgruntled with his 13-year rule. But Turkey's allies have warned him against excessive retribution as the authorities round up the perpetrators.

The justice minister has said around 7,543 people have been detained so far in the investigation into Friday's coup which Erdogan has blamed on his archenemy, US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey also removed 8,000 police across the country, including in Istanbul and the capital Ankara due to alleged links with Friday's failed coup attempt, a senior security official told Reuters on Monday.

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks said on Monday it was planning to release documents on Turkey's political power structure.

Early Monday, special Istanbul anti-terror police units raided the prestigious air force military academy in the city in search of new suspects, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Authorities have also detained General Mehmet Disli, who conducted the operation to capture Turkey's chief-of-staff Hulusi Akar during the standoff, an official said.

Reports had said that a total of 36 generals had been detained so far. The Dogan agency reported Monday that 10 of them had now been remanded in custody by the courts.

Erdogan has urged citizens to remain on the streets even after the defeat of the coup, in what the authorities describe as a "vigil" for democracy.

New demonstrations of support were held throughout the country on Sunday night, AFP correspondents said.

Thousands of pro-Erdogan supporters waving Turkish flags filled the main Kizilay Square in Ankara while similar scenes were seen in Taksim Square in Istanbul.

According to Anadolu, 1,800 additional elite special police forces have been drafted in from surrounding provinces to ensure security in Istanbul.

Eleven soldiers suspected of involvement in the coup were detained Sunday at Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport, with authorities firing warning shots in the air, a Turkish official said.

Clashes also erupted at an air base in the central city of Konya between security forces and putschists trying to evade arrest.

(China Daily 07/19/2016 page11)

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