President Recep Erdogan has cancelled 50,000 passports as his post-coup crackdown continues amid criticism from western states.
Some 60,000 people have been arrested, removed from their jobs or suspended in the two weeks following the botched putsch.
Dismissing the criticism, Erdogan has warned Western leaders to mind their own business as he strengthens his grip on the nation. He even intimated that the United States could have been supporting the plot.
Erdogan accused Western leaders of being ‘shameful in the name of democracy’ for not supporting him
Speaking last night to hundreds of supporters in the presidential palace in Ankara, he said: ‘The attitude of many countries and their officials over the coup attempt in Turkey is shameful in the name of democracy.
‘Any country and any leader who does not worry about the life of Turkish people and our democracy as much as they worry about the fate of coupists are not our friends.’
Erdogan claims he was almost killed on the night when 237 people died and a further 2,100 were injured during the failed military coup.
However, Erdogan’s response to the attempt has been criticised as the Turkish leader has been accused of attempting to consolidate his control on the nation by ousting people loyal to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Erdogan also criticised the European Council and the European Union, which Turkey aspires to be a part of, for their failure to pay a visit to offer condolences, saying their criticism was ‘shameful’.
The Director of U.S. National Intelligence, James Clapper, said on Thursday the purges were harming the fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq by sweeping away Turkish officers who had worked closely with the United States.
The head of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, said he believed some of the military figures whom the United States had worked with were in jail. Votel’s comments drew condemnation from Erdogan.
Erdogan said: ‘Instead of thanking this country which repelled a coup attempt, you take the side of the coup plotters. The putschist is in your country already.’
In a statement released by the U.S. military on Friday, General Votel said any claims that he was involved in a failed coup attempt in Turkey were ‘unfortunate and completely inaccurate’.
White House spokesman Eric Schultz has also dismissed claims that Votel supported the coup plotters, and referred to President Barack Obama’s comments from last week saying any reports that Washington had prior knowledge of the attempted overthrow were completely false.
Erdogan has blamed Gulen for masterminding the attempted coup and has called on Washington to extradite him. Turkish officials have suggested the U.S. can extradite him based on strong suspicion while President Obama last week insisted Turkey must first present evidence of Gulen’s alleged complicity in the failed coup.
As part of the reorganisation of the Turkish military forces, Ankara announced that 99 colonels were being promoted to general or admiral to replace those who have been sacked in the purge.
So far 1,700 members of the military have been dishonorably discharged.
Four out of ten generals or admirals have so far been purched. .
Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik told broadcaster NTV on Friday that the shake-up in the military was not yet over, adding that military academies would now be a target of ‘cleansing’.
The purges have also hit government ministries, schools and universities, the police, civil service, media and business.
Seventeen journalists were formally arrested late on Friday over their alleged links with the coup plot while four others were released. Arrest warrants for dozens of others were issued earlier this week.
The number of public sector workers removed from their posts since the coup attempt now stands at more than 66,000, including some 43,000 people in education, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.
Interior Minister Efkan Ala said more than 18,000 people had been detained over the failed coup, and that 50,000 passports had been cancelled. The labour ministry said it was investigating 1,300 staff over their possible involvement.
Erdogan has claimed that Gulen harnessed his extensive network of schools, charities and businesses, built up in Turkey and abroad over decades, to create a secretive ‘parallel state’ that aimed to take over the country.
Erdogan’s critics say he is using the purges to crack down indiscriminately on dissent and to tighten his grip on power.
Prosecutors in the Aegean coastal city of Izmir issued orders to detain 200 police on Friday as part of the investigation targeting Gulenists, the Dogan news agency said.
In the Netherlands, a spokeswoman for the Gulenist community said supporters feared for their safety after dozens of death threats and acts of arson and vandalism in Dutch towns and cities in the past two weeks. Saniye Calkin said supporters in neighbouring Germany were reporting similar incidents.
Germany is home to Europe’s largest Turkish diaspora, while the Netherlands also has around half a million ethnic Turks.
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania since 1999, again maintained his innocence during an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera newspaper, saying he had himself suffered from previous coups in Turkey.
Asked why his once-warm ties with Erdogan and the AK Party had turned sour, Gulen said: ‘It appears that after staying in power for too long, (they) are suffering from power poisoning.’
Meanwhile, rebel military officers killed in the abortive coup have been buried in a newly-constructed ‘Traitors’ Cemetery’ built beside a dog kennel.
Captain Mehmet Karabekir’s body was not washed before burial. Nobody recited prayers from the Koran before he was laid to rest in a hastily dug hole near an animal shelter, denied all Muslim rites.
Karabekir lies with no tombstone next to three other two-metre deep holes prepared with a mechanical digger. He was the first to be buried in a plot of land of about a quarter of an acre sectioned off last weekend in a disused part of a construction site on the eastern outskirts of Istanbul.
Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbas called it ‘The Traitors’ Cemetery’ – established, he said, specifically for coup plotters in the military.
culled from DailyMail