Sunday, July 17, 2016

Turkey detains 6,000 in failed coup, including Turkish commander at Incirlik - Washintonpost

Thousands of military officers, soldiers and other suspects linked to a failed coup in Turkey have been arrested, authorities said Sunday, amid signs that the campaign against the alleged plotters was turning into a crackdown on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s opponents.

The country’s justice minister said that as many as 6,000 people had been detained by early Sunday.

Among those arrested was the commander at Incirlik Air Base, which is used by U.S. forces to launch raids against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, a senior Turkish official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. Gen. Bekir Ercan Van was detained along with 10 other soldiers on Sunday. The facility is a major NATO installation hosting U.S. forces that control a stockpile of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. consulate in the southern Turkish city of Adana said Saturday that authorities had cut power to Incirlik and blocked movement to and from the facility. Turkey also closed its airspace to military aircraft. But the Pentagon said Sunday that the country’s airspace had opened again, and that all anti-Islamic State operations had resumed.

“U.S. facilities at Incirlik are still operating on internal power sources, but we hope to restore commercial power soon. Base operations have not been affected,” the Pentagon’s press secretary, Peter Cook, said in a statement.

As many as 3,000 soldiers — including senior commanders in the Turkish armed forces — have been seized by authorities in response to the unrest, which killed at least 265 people and rattled the stability of a key Middle Eastern nation and important U.S. ally.

Some of the most senior military figures arrested in the coup plot include Gen. Akin Ozturk, a former commander of the Turkish Air Force and military attaché to Israel who is a member of the Supreme Military Council. 

Another is Gen. Adem Huduti, commander of the Second Army, which protects Turkey’s borders with Syria, Iraq, and Iran. And Rear Adm. Hakan Ustem, commander of Turkish Coast Guard, was removed from his post, a senior Turkish official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the subject. It is unclear if Ustem has been arrested.

Arrest warrants have also been issued for at least 2,745 judges and prosecutors across the country, according to Turkish media reports.

By Saturday, authorities appeared to have neutralized the last threats from the attempted coup, but it was a greatly diminished Turkey that emerged from the chaos of the night before.

Erdogan on Sunday attended a mass funeral in Istanbul for five people killed in the unrest. Other senior officials in attendance included Abdullah Gul, a former president, and Ahmet Davutoglu, former prime minister. - Read More
Turkey detains 6,000 linked to failed coup


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