Failed Coup: Turkey captures commandos who tried to abduct Erdogan

Failed Coup: Turkey captures commandos who tried to abduct Erdogan
August 01 23:09 2016

Turkish special forces have captured a group of rebel
commandos who tried to seize or kill President Tayyip
Erdogan during a failed coup, and a government
minister said plotters would “never see God’s sun as
long as they breathe”.
Drones and helicopters pinpointed the location of the
11 fugitive commandos in forested hills around the
Mediterranean resort of Marmaris after a two-week
manhunt, an official said on Monday.

They were part of a group that attacked a hotel where
Erdogan was holidaying on the night of the July 15
coup bid, reports Reuters.
The operation took place overnight, after the
government tightened its control over the military by
dismissing over 1,000 more soldiers, widening the post-
coup purges of state institutions that have targeted
tens of thousands of people.
The coup attempt and resulting purges have shocked
Turkey, which last saw a violent military power grab in
1980, and have shaken confidence in the stability of a
NATO member key to the U.S.-led fight against Islamic
State and to stopping illegal migration to Europe.
Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said coup plotters
would bitterly regret trying to overthrow Turkey’s
democracy, in words reflecting the depth of anger
among the thousands of Turks who have attended
rallies to condemn the coup night after night.

“We will make them beg. We will stuff them into holes,
they will suffer such punishment in those holes that
they will never see God’s sun as long as they breathe,”
Zeybekci was quoted by the Dogan news agency as
telling an anti-coup protest in the western town of Usak
over the weekend.
”They will not hear a human voice again. ‘Kill us’ they
will beg,” he said.
Erdogan blames followers of U.S.-based Turkish cleric
Fethullah Gulen for the coup bid and has vowed to rid
state institutions of his influence. But the extent of the
purges, and suggestions that the death penalty could
be reintroduced, have sparked concern in Western
capitals and among rights groups.
Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the United
States, has denied involvement.
Erdogan and his government have been angered by the
response of Western allies to the abortive coup and its
aftermath, accusing them of being more concerned
about the rights of the plotters than the gravity of the
threat Turkey has faced.

The United States’ top military official, chairman of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford, was due to meet
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Ankara on Monday
after visiting the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey,
used by the U.S.-led coalition for bombing raids in
Syria.
SOLDIERS DISMISSED
More than 230 people were killed in the attempted
coup, many of them civilians, and more than 2,000
injured. Erdogan was almost killed or captured, officials
close to him have said, an outcome which could have
tipped Turkey into conflict.
Since the coup bid, more than 60,000 people in the
military, judiciary, civil service and education have been
detained, suspended or placed under investigation,
leading to concern among NATO allies about the scale
of the purges. Around 40 percent of Turkey’s generals
and admirals have been dismissed.
Nearly 1,400 more members of the armed forces were
dismissed and the top military council was stacked
with government ministers on Sunday, moves designed
by Erdogan to tighten civilian control over the military.
”Our aim is that we set up such a system that nobody
within the armed forces would ever consider a coup
again,” Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus told a
news conference in Ankara, explaining the latest
reforms. He said a restructuring of Turkey’s intelligence
structures may follow.

Similar “democracy demonstrations” to the one
attended by Zeybekci, rallies called for by Erdogan,
have been held in squares night after night across the
country of nearly 80 million since the coup.
The foreign ministry summoned the charge d’affaires at
the German embassy on Monday after German
authorities prevented Erdogan from addressing such a
rally by Turks in Cologne on Sunday by video link, a
senior official in Ankara said.
The top German court ruled against the live link amid
concerns that political tensions in Turkey could spill
over into Germany, home to Europe’s largest Turkish
diaspora.
”It would be absolutely unacceptable for Germany to
even mention democracy, the rule of law, human rights
and freedoms to Turkey after this point,” Turkish
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag wrote in a furious
response on Twitter.
Turkey’s crackdown after the failed coup has made
European leaders even more uneasy about their
dependence on the country to help stem illegal
migration, in return for which Turks have been
promised visa-free travel to the European Union.

Turkey will have to back out of the agreement if the EU
does not deliver visa liberalisation as promised, Foreign
Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was quoted as telling
Germany’s daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
COMMANDOS SEIZED
Having been tipped off that he was in danger on the
night of the coup bid, Erdogan had fled the hotel in
Marmaris by the time the rogue commandos arrived in
an attempt to capture him.
After a manhunt involving around 1,000 members of
the security forces, the 11 were captured – dressed in
camouflage and trying to cross a stream – after a tip-off
from a man who spotted them as he was hunting wild
boar, the Dogan agency said.
Video footage showed a dozen or so anti-coup
demonstrators jeering the 11 detained soldiers, some
of whom had swollen faces and bruises. The
demonstrators waved Turkish flags and chanted
”Traitors! We want the death penalty!”
More than 1,700 military personnel were dishonourably
discharged last week for their role in the putsch, which
saw a faction of the military commandeer tanks,
helicopters and warplanes in an attempt to topple the
government.

The new wave of army expulsions and the overhaul of
the Supreme Military Council (YAS), announced in the
official state gazette on Sunday, came hours after
Erdogan said he also planned to shut down existing
military academies and put the armed forces under the
command of the Defence Ministry.

According to the gazette, the 1,389 military personnel
targeted on Sunday were dismissed for suspected links
to the Islamic preacher Gulen.
Erdogan has said that Gulen harnessed his extensive
network of schools, charities and businesses, built up in
Turkey and abroad over decades, to create a “parallel
state” that aimed to take over the country.
The cleric has however condemned the coup.
”If there is anything I told anyone about this verbally, if
there is any phone conversation, if one-tenth of this
accusation is correct … I would bend my neck and
would say, ‘They are telling the truth. Let them take me
away. Let them hang me,'” Gulen said in an interview
with CNN broadcast on Sunday.