Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Allies warned to extradite coup suspects

Published:Friday | July 29, 2016 | 7:00 AM
Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim (centre) escorted by the country's top generals, attends a wreath-laying ceremony at the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, ahead of a High Military Council meeting in Ankara, Turkey, yesterday. Turkey's Supreme Military Council, the gathering of the top commanders of NATO's second-largest army, met a day after Turkey discharged close to 1,700 officers suspected of involvement in the failed July 15 coup attempt.

ANKARA, Turkey (AP):

Turkey was shaking up its armed forces yesterday with another anticipated wave of officer dismissals, while the government warned allies that diplomatic relations would suffer if they did not extradite suspects in the July 15 putsch.

The Supreme Military Council, representing the commanders of NATO's second-largest army, met a day after Turkey discharged nearly 1,700 officers including 149 generals and admirals suspected of involvement. A senior Turkish official described the actions as "dishonourable discharges".

The council, which determines promotions and retirements, met for five hours yesterday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

Turkey has declared a state of emergency following the failed coup that caused 290 deaths. Its clampdown seeks to target anyone suspected of ties to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government accuses of masterminding the plot.

 

EMPLOYEES SACKED

 

Tens of thousands of state employees also have been dismissed for alleged ties to Gulen, while schools, dormitories and hospitals associated with his movement have been closed down.

The chief prosecutor's office in Ankara called on Thursday for the seizure of assets held by approximately 3,000 detained judges and prosecutors, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Gulen, who lives in the United States and runs a global network of schools and foundations, has denied any involvement in the coup plot. Turkey has branded Gulen's movement a terrorist organisation and wants the cleric extradited. The United States has told Turkey to present evidence against him and let the US extradition process take its course.

Cavusoglu warned allies that relations would sour if they refuse to cooperate with Turkey's extradition requests.

In an interview with CNN Turk television, Cavusoglu criticised Germany's slow response to Ankara's request for the extradition of several alleged members of the Gulen movement.

"Some judges and prosecutors with ties to the Gulen movement have fled to Germany. Germany must return them," Cavusoglu said.

The foreign minister said anti-US sentiment in Turkey was on the rise and a refusal to extradite Gulen would harm relations.