Turkey is expected to shake up its armed forces and dismiss more military officers as it deepens its purge of individuals who the government claims supported a failed coup this month.
The Supreme Military Council, gathering top commanders of Nato’s second-largest army, met a day after Turkey discharged close to 1,700 officers – including 149 generals and admirals – suspected of involvement in the failed 15 July coup attempt.
The purges have raised concerns in Europe, and yesterday German chancellor Angela Merkel said while it was right to pursue plotters the response should be proportional.
A senior Turkish official described the purges as “dishonorable discharge.”
The council, which decides on promotions and retirements and was being chaired by prime minister Binali Yildirim, was expected to announce more dismissals last night, while two senior generals offered their resignations as a key meeting was taking place.
Turkey declared a state of emergency after the coup attempt that led to 290 deaths, and embarked on a large-scale clampdown on people suspected of ties to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government accuses of masterminding the coup.
Nearly 16,000 people were detained over suspected links to the failed uprising, and about half of them were formally arrested to face trial.
Tens of thousands of state employees have also been dismissed for alleged ties to Gulen, while schools, dormitories and hospitals associated with his movement have been closed down.
Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced yesterday that 88 employees of his ministry were dismissed, including two ambassadors.
Authorities issued warrants for the detention of 89 journalists as the clampdown extended to the media. Dozens of media organisations – most of them also linked to Gulen – were closed down late on Wednesday.
The media organisations include 39 television and radio stations, 15 magazines, 29 publishing houses and 45 newspapers – including a Gulen-linked children’s TV station.
Gulen, who lives in the United States and runs a global network of schools and foundations, has repeatedly denied any knowledge of the coup attempt.