Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Coup: Turkey Suspends, Dismiss Thousands Of Police Officers, Military Personnel

Turkey has suspended more than 500 military personnel, mostly officers, from the air force and navy for suspected ties to the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen who is blamed for the botched coup, local media reported on Wednesday.

Tens of thousands of people have already been arrested or lost their jobs in the relentless crackdown under the state of emergency declared in the wake of the July 15 attempted coup.

A total of 113 personnel from the navy, and 427 from the air force have been temporarily suspended as part of an investigation into the group led by Gulen, Defence Minister Fikri Isik was quoted as saying by the Dogan news agency.

He said 368 of the suspended personnel were officers.

In total, 3,699 military personnel have been dismissed from the Turkish armed forces in the wake of the coup, the minister added. Half Turkey's contingent of generals from before the coup have either been arrested or dismissed.

The announcement comes a day after Turkey suspended 12,801 police officers from duty -- 2,523 of them police chiefs.

Turkish officials say a suspension is a "precautionary measure" intended to stop suspects from interfering with the official investigation, adding that suspended personnel receive two thirds of their salary.

Turkey has launched a vast crackdown on plotters of the attempt to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power.

Some 32,000 suspects had been remanded in custody so far, according to government figures.

Turkey accuses Gulen of orchestrating the July 15 coup plot at the helm of a group Ankara calls Fethullah Terror Organisation (FETO).

Gulen and his supporters deny the claims, saying he merely runs a peaceful organisation called Hizmet (Service).