09:18 Jul. 18, 2016
Crackdown on military and judiciary in wake of failed coup attempt led to detention of thousands
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on July 17th said around 6,000 suspects, including at least 2,839 soldiers and thousands of judiciary members, have been detained as part of a wide-scale operation launched following the deadly coup attempt initiated by a group of soldiers late on July 15th.
Suspects are being charged with "membership of an armed terrorist organization" and "attempting to overthrow the government of the Turkish Republic using force and violence or attempting to completely or partially hinder its function."
The terrorist organization is allegedly led by the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, a friend turned foe of the Turkish government. The jets that hit Ankara were reportedly supported by Turkish tanker aircrafts based at the İncirlik Air Base, which is also being used by the U.S.-led coalition in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
At least 290 people were killed and thousands of others were wounded in the coup attempt. People took to the streets throughout Turkey on the evening of July 15th with shots being heard inside the General Staff headquarters in Ankara and a helicopter firing at people on the ground.
While a group of soldiers then took control of state broadcaster TRT and the General Staff headquarters in Ankara, troops and tanks blocked the Bosphorus and Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridges linking Asia and Europe in Istanbul. An explosion was heard at the police special operations center in Gölbaşı, south of Ankara, shortly after Yıldırım announced that an "attempt to stage a coup" was happening during a live TV broadcast.
Read also Five reasons this Turkey coup bid failed
Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar was held hostage by pro-coup soldiers until he was rescued on June 16th. The coup attempt was confirmed nation-wide when the TRT building was raided by a group of soldiers and a news anchor was forced to read a declaration from the coup leaders, who had named themselves the "Peace at Home Committee," claiming to have taken control of the country.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan later addressed the country on CNN Türk via a mobile telephone, urging people to "take to the streets" to resist the coup and defend democracy. After the president's call thousands of people headed to Istanbul's bridges and Atatürk Airport, as well as Taksim Square, to stage demonstrations against the coup attempt. There were major incidents in which crowds of civilians and police officers had violent encounters with pro-coup soldiers.
The coup operations of the soldiers had begun to reach an end when some of its forces at the General Staff headquarters asked to negotiate surrender. Three prosecutors later received the surrender of the troops, while a series of other forces also surrendered.
It said a majority of the army and the police department firmly stood against the coup plotters, which meant the attempt could be neutralized before accomplishing its aim. It also noted that many members of the public took to the streets to protect "the real members of the Turkish Armed Forces" and to foil the coup, which it said would have dealt a serious blow to Turkey's democracy.