Soldiers who seized state broadcaster were from presidential unit, PM says
July 15 attempted coup left hundreds dead
Alongside the more than 9,000 soldiers who were arrested in the coup’s aftermath, Turkey is disbanding its elite presidential guard unit, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim told Anadolu. Since the arrests, 1,200 troops have been released, the government said.
Some of the soldiers who seized state broadcaster TRT during the coup attempt came from the presidential guard unit, Yildirim said.
“We decided that there won’t be a guards unit in this compound anymore,” he said.
Since the attempted coup on July 15, Turkey has cracked down on various agencies and individuals suspected of having ties to it, including journalists, judges and professors.
The roundup of suspected coup plotters is not the only government response to the uprising.
Under a new presidential decree following the attempted coup, suspects can be detained for as long as 30 days without charge and the government can listen in on all conversations they have with their lawyers.
It is the first measure implemented under new powers granted to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan by a three-month state of emergency declaration issued Thursday.
It is expected to be ratified by parliament, where Erdogan’s AKP party holds the majority.
Before the July 15 coup attempt, Turkey’s detention period without charges was 24 hours, extendable to as many as four days.
Nephew, aide detained
Turkey has shut down more than 2,000 institutions linked to Gulen.
Erdogan accuses Gulen of being behind the coup attempt and has requested his extradition from the United States. Gulen and his supporters accuse Erdogan of using the state of emergency “to solidify his power and persecute his critics.”
Gulen and his supporters have said the government is using the state of emergency “to solidify his power and persecute his critics.”
Turkish authorities detained Gulen’s top aide Saturday, according to a source from the Turkish president’s office. Halis Hanci was taken into custody in the town of Arakli in northern Turkey. He entered Turkey two days before the military coup attempt last week, the source said.
Gulen’s nephew, Muhammet Sait Gulen, was also detained, Anadolu reported.
Turkey fired or suspended 50,000 people this week from the country’s institutions and security forces. They included judges, teachers, police and journalists.
More than 9,000 soldiers have been arrested since the coup. Government officials said 1,200 were released Saturday.
Rare show of unity
Turkey’s secular Republican People’s Party, CHP, has planned a rally for Sunday. The party opposed the coup attempt and supported Erdogan, but it voted against his state of emergency declaration.
The secularists have said their denouncement of the coup does not mean carte blanche for the measures the government will try to enact in the failed coup’s wake.
Both sides have agreed that the national flag and flags bearing the image of Turkey’s founding father, Ataturk, would be the only symbols on display at the rally, which could mark a rare show of solidarity for a country that has failed to stand together in the aftermath of several terrorist attacks this year.
The government’s response to the rally will also widely be seen as a test of its commitment to democratic freedoms.
CNN’s Susanna Capelouto and Gul Tuysuz contributed to this report.