Turkey coup: Latest news as thousands of public employees sacked by government


The fall-out from last week's failed Turkish coup continues with the tens of thousands of public employees having now been sacked by the government.

In addition to the widespread dismissals, Turkey has requested the extradition of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen while President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suggested on TV that he had been closed to death during the failed coup. Here's a look at the key pieces of information coming out of Turkey.

Gulen denies being behind the coup attempt

Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen

Turkey says Gulen was behind the coup and has demanded his extradition. Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for President Erdogan, blamed a "Gulenist clique within the Turkish army" for the attempted coup. Gulen has denied any knowledge.

"There will be legal evidence collected in this investigation and we will present all of this to the Americans as part of our extradition request," Kalin said. "On the grounds of suspicion, he can be easily extradited. We would like to see cooperation from the US authorities on this issue."

Turkey's deputy prime minister said dossiers containing details of Gulen's activities have been sent to the US. Numan Kurtulmus would not provide details about the files but said they include the past actions of the group that Gulen leads. They may also include new evidence that has emerged from the current investigation. Kurtulmus said an extradition request will follow.

Teachers chief among those sacked by the government

Turkish special forces policemen walk in front of their damaged base

Turkish media said the Ministry of Education fired 15,200 people across the country; the Interior Ministry 8,777 employees; and Turkey's Board of Higher Education requested the resignation of 1,577 university deans.

In addition, 257 people working at the office of the prime minister were dismissed and the Directorate of Religious Affairs announced it had sacked 492 staff including clerics, preachers and religious teachers. Turkey's Family and Social Policy Ministry said it dismissed 393 personnel.

The firings come on top of the roughly 9,000 people who have been detained by the government, including security personnel, judges, prosecutors, religious figures and others. Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said courts have ordered 85 generals and admirals jailed pending trial over their suspected roles in the coup attempt. Dozens of others were still being questioned.

Critics of the government were also targeted for their social media postings. At least two people were reportedly arrested for insulting Erdogan on social media, while one also praised the coup. The violence surrounding the Friday night coup attempt claimed the lives of 208 government supporters and 24 coup plotters, according to the government.

Two Army Generals have been arrested

A broken window is seen in a coffee shop inside the Turkish police headquarters

Anadolu Agency said those formally arrested include former air force commander General Akin Ozturk, alleged to be the ringleader of the July 15 uprising, and General Adem Hududi, commander of Turkey's Second Army, which is in charge of countering possible threats to Turkey from Syria, Iran and Iraq.

Gen Ozturk has denied the allegation, saying he neither planned nor directed the failed military coup, according to the Anadolu Agency.

The agency said Erdogan's Air Force adviser, Lieutenant Colonel Erkan Kivrak, had been detained at a hotel where he was on holiday in Turkey's southern province of Antalya. No reason was given for the detention.

Erdogan claims he was close to death on Friday night

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

In a series of televised appearances Erdogan revealed dramatic details of his survival on the night of a failed coup. He told US broadcaster CNN that he narrowly escaped death after coup plotters stormed the resort town of Marmaris where he was on holiday.

"Had I stayed 10, 15 additional minutes, I would have been killed or I would have been taken," he said in the interview late on Monday.

Erdogan flags possibility of bringing back the death penalty in Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (centre)

The president and other officials have strongly suggested the government is considering reinstating the death penalty, a practice abolished in 2004 as part of Turkey's bid to join the European Union.

Several European officials have said such a move would be the end of Turkey's attempts to join. Addressing hundreds of supporters outside his Istanbul residence early on Tuesday, Erdogan responded to calls for the reintroduction of the death penalty with the simple statement: "You cannot put aside the people's demands".

"In a country where our youths are killed with tanks and bombs, if we stay silent, as political people we will be held responsible in the afterlife," Erdogan said, pointing out that capital punishment exists around the world, including in the United States and China.

Pro-democracy rallies around the country

Government supporters take part in a protest in Taksim Square

A thousand pro-government demonstrators gathered for a rally in Istanbul on Tuesday, waving flags and chanting slogans and songs praising President Erdogan.

The demonstrators amassed in the conservative district of Fatih and demanded the death penalty for those responsible for the failed coup.

Pro-democracy meetings and rallies have been held in all of the major cities of Turkey.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim frustrated by some of Europe's response

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim

Yildirim said the July 15 victory over the plotters was "epic" and that no coup in the history of Turkey had been as brutal as the one that this government survived. "The force of the tanks could not beat the force of the people," he said.

Yildirim also lashed out at Europe, whose leaders have expressed concerns over the purges under way across Turkey's key state institutions.

"We thank our European friends for their support against the coup, however their sentences starting with 'but' did not please us at all," he said.