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Friday, April 23, 2021

6000 arrested in Turkish coup crackdown

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Turkey has widened a crackdown on suspected supporters of a failed military coup as the government claims it is back in control of the country and the economy.

Authorities have rounded up 6,000 people and the Turkish foreign minister has reassured Australia his government is back in control.

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The Foreign Ministry has raised the death toll to more than 290, including over 100 rebels, and said 1,400 people were hurt.

President Tayyip Erdogan has accused the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the coup.

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Erdogan’s supporters of gathered in front of his Istanbul home to call for the plotters to face the death penalty, which Turkey outlawed in 2004 as part of its efforts to join the European Union.

“We cannot ignore this demand,” Erdogan told the chanting crowd. “In democracies, whatever the people say has to happen.”

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He said a “terror group” led by Gulen had “ruined” the armed forces, that its members were being arrested in all military ranks, and that a purge of this “virus” would continue.

Gulen denies any connection with the coup.

Pictures on social media showed detained soldiers stripped to the waist, some wearing only their underpants, handcuffed and lying packed together on the floor of a sports hall where they were being held in Ankara.

One video posted on Twitter showed detained generals with bruises and bandages. Akin Ozturk, head of the air force until 2015 and identified by three senior officials as one of the suspected masterminds of the coup plot, was among those held.

The violence shocked the nation of almost 80 million, once seen as a model Muslim democracy, where living standards have risen steadily for more than a decade and where the army last used force to stage a successful coup more than 30 years ago.

It’s also shattered fragile confidence among Turkey’s allies about security in the NATO country, which is a leading member of the US-led coalition against Islamic State.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop has warned Australians to reconsider travel to Istanbul and Ankara as consular staff try to help those wanting to leave the country.

Online Source

The Indian Telegraph Sydney Australia

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