Nine generals at large since failed coup bid: Deputy PM
AA photoA total of 216 soldiers of various ranks, including nine generals, suspected of plotting last month’s failed coup were still at large, Deputy Turkish Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on Aug. 8, while also providing reassurances that there was no imminent threat of another coup.
Kurtulmuş, however, dismissed claims that some of the fugitive soldiers had joined the ranks of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey has been fighting against for the past year since a fragile peace process crumbled.
He said reports by Turkish daily Sözcü were merely “speculation,” after the latter said that a total 60 plotters, including three generals, had taken refuge with the PKK in northern Iraq.
During the press conference, Kurtulmuş also said that 10 foreign nationals faced legal action, four of whom had been arrested, but did not give any details about their nationalities.
One of the suspects was detained on Aug. 6 after entering Turkey illegally from Syria, the deputy premier said, adding that at least one wanted foreign national was still on the run.
Kurtulmuş said the 216 people were the “tip of the iceberg” as far as the FETÖ coup attempt was concerned but assured that no other coup attempt would be possible after the July 15 episode.
Kurtulmuş also said prohibitions preventing public personnel from taking holidays had ended.
Ankara retaliated after the coup blamed on Gülen followers, dismissing or detaining tens of thousands of people from the military, judiciary, civil service and education system linked with the movement.
Turkey had in particular dismissed almost half its contingent of generals over involvement in the coup, indicating how deep the plotters had penetrated inside the military.
A total of 1,684 soldiers, including 149 generals and admirals, were discharged from the TSK over alleged links to FETÖ, one day before a Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) meeting on July 28.