The Latest: Turkey seeks arrest of Erdogan’s military aide


ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on Turkey’s failed military coup. (all times local):

5:05 p.m.

Turkey’s state-run news agency says authorities have issued a warrant for the arrest of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s top military aide.

The Anadolu Agency says Sunday the warrant was issued against Col. Ali Yazici following Friday’s failed coup attempt. It wasn’t immediately clear what role, if any, Yazici played in the attempted coup that started late Friday.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says the coup plotters have been defeated, the coup has failed and life has returned to normal.

___

5 p.m.

The Pentagon says Turkey has reopened its airspace to military aircraft, allowing the U.S.-led coalition to resume air operations against the Islamic State group.

Turkey had closed its airspace following an attempted coup, which was crushed.

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook says “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.”

Turkey, a NATO member, is a key partner in U.S.-led efforts to defeat the Islamic State group, and has allowed American jets to use its Incirlik air base to fly missions against the extremists in nearby Syria and Iraq.

___

4:40 p.m.

Turkey’s deputy prime minister says that crushing the coup attempt was a lesson to anti-democratic forces around the world.

In an interview with CNN-Turk Sunday, Numan Kurtulmus wouldn’t comment on who authorities suspect is the chief instigator of the attempt, saying the investigation was underway.

He said: “the hierarchy of this coup, of this junta will be brought to light.”

Turkish officials have blamed the coup on a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who strongly denies the accusation.

Asked whether the government would start a witch hunt, Kurtulmus said authorities would purge the cleric’s supporters within the rules of law.

He also said he believed that Greece, which has suffered as much as Turkey from military coups, would stand against the coup plotters who fled to the Greece.

___

3:50 p.m.

A Syrian government newspaper says the failed coup in Turkey was fabricated and aimed at tarnishing the reputation of the military.

The daily Al-Thawra said Sunday that the attempted coup was a plot by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “avenge the military and strip it of its remaining popular support.”

It said police loyal to Erdogan “deliberately humiliated” the army in front of the people.

Erdogan is a strong backer of the insurgents trying to remove President Bashar Assad from power in neighboring Syria. The Syrian government views the rebels as terrorists.

___

3:45 p.m.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim says the coup plotters have been defeated, the coup has failed and life has returned to normal.

He made the victory declaration Sunday after visiting state TRT television station headquarters in Ankara.

The broadcaster was temporarily seized and used by soldiers to announce a coup on Friday.

The prime minister asked that people remain in the streets in the evenings to continue to protect and celebrate democracy.

“Another calamity has been thwarted,” Yildirim said. “However, our duty is not over. We shall rapidly conduct the cleansing operation so that they cannot again show the audacity of coming against the will of the people.”

___

3:40 p.m.

A lawyer says the eight Turkish military officers charged in Greece with illegal entry claim they initially knew nothing about Friday’s coup attempt.

Ilia Marinaki says the officers were ordered to carry injured people in their helicopter. She says that soon after finding out the coup, they were fired at by police, were scared and crossed the border, emitting a distress signal. They were allowed to land at Alexandroupolis, the closest airport inside Greece.

The officers are being held in the town of Ferres, near Alexandroupolis, and are in court Monday.

___

3:35 p.m.

Eight Turkish officers who landed in Greece in a helicopter Saturday have been charged with illegal entry.

The officers were examined by a magistrate in the northeastern city of Alexandroupolis, near the border with Turkey.

The pilot was charged with an illegal flight into the country, and the other seven were charged as accessories.

The eight officers will appear in court Monday and are likely to ask for a one- or two-day postponement to answer the charges, lawyer Ilia Marinaki said.

The eight have applied for political asylum in Greece. The Greek government has said that it will examine their demand, as prescribed by international law, while taking into account that they are wanted in Turkey and accused of trying to subvert the constitution.

___

3:25 p.m.

A Turkish government official says the commander of an air base used by U.S.-led coalition jets that conduct bombing runs against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria has been detained.

The official said Sunday that Gen. Bekir Ercan Van, 10 other soldiers and one police officer from the Incirlik base are detained for their role in the botched Friday coup attempt.

The Turkish private DHA news agency showed footage of Van handcuffed and pushed into a van outside a courthouse.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

___

3 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to purge all state institutions of supporters of an Islamist cleric his government blames for Friday’s failed coup attempt.

Speaking at a funeral in Istanbul on Sunday, Erdogan vowed to “clean all state institutions of the virus” of Fethullah Gulen supporters.

He said Turkey, through the justice ministry and foreign ministry, would request the extradition of the cleric, who is based in the United States, and his backers.

Crowds chanted “Fethullah will come and pay,” ”Allah is Great” and “We want the death penalty.”

Erdogan said that in democracies, “you cannot push the wish of the people to one side” but also said “we are not after revenge.”

The cleric, whose movement is labelled a terrorist group by Turkey, has denied any involvement in the coup effort.

___

2:55 p.m.

Turkish Airlines says it has canceled 196 domestic and international flights in and out of Istanbul due to disruptions in air traffic brought on by Friday night’s attempted coup.

The cancellations will affect flights on Sunday and Monday.

Regular operations had resumed on Saturday, but a backlog of flights congested traffic at Istanbul’s main Ataturk International Airport.

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had suspended all U.S. airline carriers from flying to or from Istanbul and Ankara Airports. All airline carriers, regardless of country, are also prohibited from flying into the U.S. from Turkey either directly or via a third country.

___

2:05 p.m.

Turkey’s president has spoken with Russian President Vladimir Putin following the failed military coup attempt.

A statement from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office said Putin said Moscow stood by “Turkey’s elected government” and expressed his good wishes to the Turkish people.

It said the two leaders — who recently patched up relations following Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane — also agreed to meet face-to-face next month.

___

1:15 p.m.

Turkey’s justice minister says some 6,000 people have been detained in a government crackdown on alleged coup plotters and government opponents.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag says in a television interview that “the cleansing (operation) is continuing. Some 6,000 detentions have taken place. The number could surpass 6,000.”

Bozdag also said he was confident that the United States would return Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen to Turkey. The Turkish president has blamed Gulen and his followers for the failed military coup on Friday night, but Gulen has denied any involvement in or knowledge about the attempted coup. The U.S. says it will look at any evidence Turkey has to offer against Gulen, and judge accordingly.

Bozdag says “the United States would weaken itself by protecting him, it would harm its reputation. I don’t think that at this hour, the United States would protect someone who carried out this act against Turkey.”

___

12:35 p.m.

Prayers are being read simultaneously from Turkey’s 85,000 mosques at noon to rally the country to defend its democracy and honor those who died in an attempted military coup.

Sela prayers are traditionally recited from mosques during funerals, though they are also performed to rally people. During Friday night’s attempted military coup, sela prayers were repeatedly recited from mosques across the country throughout the night to rally the people against the coup plotters.

Religious Affairs Directorate President Mehmet Görmez told private channel Ulke TV that “as a nation who wasn’t disturbed by the barrel of tanks pointed at the people or the sounds of F-16s flying overhead, I do not see anyone in this land who would be disturbed by the sound of sela. This tradition will continue.”

___

12:10 p.m.

The Turkish government has accelerated its crackdown on alleged plotters of the botched coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, issuing dozens of arrest warrants for judges and prosecutors and detaining military officers.

Already, three of the country’s top generals have been detained, alongside hundreds of soldiers. The government has also dismissed nearly 3,000 judges and prosecutors from their posts, while investigators were preparing court cases to send the conspirators to trial on charges of attempting to overthrow the government.

The botched coup, which saw warplanes fly over key government installations and tanks roll up in major cities briefly, ended hours later when loyal government forces including military and police— regained control of the military and civilians took to the streets in support of Erdogan.

At least 265 people were killed and over 1,400 were wounded. Government officials say at least 104 conspirators were killed.

___

12 noon

Chanting, dancing and waving flags, tens of thousands of Turks marched through the streets into the wee to defend democracy and support the country’s long-time leader after a failed military coup shocked the nation.

It was an emotional display by Turks, who rallied in headscarves and long dresses, T-shirts and work boots, some walking hand-in-hand late Saturday and early Sunday with their children. Rather than toppling Turkey’s strongman president, the attempted coup that left some 265 dead and 1,440 wounded appears to have bolstered Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s popularity and grip on power.

Gozde Kurt, a 16-year-old student at the rally in Istanbul, says Sunday that “just a small group from Turkish armed forces stood up against our government … but we, the Turkish nation, stand together and repulse it back.”

The Yeni Safak newspaper used the headline “Traitors of the country,” while the Hurriyet newspaper declared “Democracy’s victory.”

___

11:20 a.m.

Turkish security forces have rounded up 52 more military officers for alleged coup links and issued detention orders for 53 more judges and prosecutors, continuing the purge of judges seen as government opponents.

Officials say about 3,000 soldiers, including officers, are already in detention. Almost a similar number of judges and prosecutors have been dismissed.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said the perpetrators of Friday’s failed coup “will receive every punishment they deserve,” and the government said it would take steps toward extraditing a U.S.-based cleric it accused of fomenting the uprising.

Still, the government crackdowns raised concerns over the future of democracy in Turkey, which has long prided itself on its democratic and secular traditions despite being in a region swept by conflict and extremism.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s survival has turned him into a “sort of a mythical figure” and could further erode democracy in Turkey, said Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish research program at The Washington Institute.

“It will allow him to crack down on liberty and freedom of association, assembly, expression and media in ways that we haven’t seen before,” he said.

___

10 a.m.

The coup attempt, which started with tanks rolling Friday night into the streets of Ankara and Istanbul as the president was on a seaside vacation, has claimed at least 265 lives, according to officials.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said 161 people were killed and 1,440 wounded in the process of putting down the coup attempt, while Gen. Umit Dundar said at least 104 “coup plotters” had died.

Explosions and gunfire erupted throughout the night. It quickly became clear, however, that the military was not united in the effort to overthrow the government. In a dramatic iPhone interview broadcast on TV early Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged his supporters into the streets to confront the troops and tanks, and forces loyal to the government began reasserting control.

Before the chaos, Turkey — a NATO member and key Western ally in the fight against the Islamic State group — had been wracked by political turmoil that critics blamed on Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian rule. He has shaken up the government, cracked down on dissidents, restricted the news media and renewed fighting with Kurdish rebels.

comments powered by Disqus