This item has been updated.
Less than three days after an attempted coup failed in Turkey, the government has already identified a culprit—or thousands of them.
Binali Yildirim, Turkey’s prime minister and longtime loyal aide to president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has announced that over 7,500 people have been arrested in connection with the coup. In addition, 9,000 police officers have been fired, while there have been calls to reintroduce the death penalty, which was abolished in 2004. Erdoğan has hinted to the possibility, saying “we cannot delay this anymore because in this country, those who launch a coup will have to pay the price for it,” BBC reported.
US and EU representatives have urged the president to show restraint, but the Erdoğan seems to have all the intentions to use the failed coup as an excuse to strengthen his authoritarian hold on the country.
Update: As of the afternoon of July 22, the tally of arrests and deaths following Turkey’s failed coup is:
- 312 killed (despite previous reports of 290), including 208 civilians and police and 104 coup plotters
- 1,491 injured;
- At least 7,543 arrested, including 6,039 military personnel including at 103 generals and admirals, accounting for a third of the army leading officers;
- 300 presidential guards arrested;
- 30 governors dismissed;
- 9,000 police officers fired;
- 2,745 judges dismissed;
- 1,577 Turkish university deans asked to resign;
- 49,000 government workers fired;
- 21,000 private teachers licenses revoked;
- 15,200 teachers fired;
- Military attachés including Mikail Gullu, from the Turkish embassy in Kuwait, and Erdoğan’s own military attaché (paywall);
- All academics banned from international travel.
According to the Turkish government, those arrested were part of a list suspected to be planning a coup, and the judges in it were expected to take control of the government had the coup been successful.
Erdoğan’s administration has also asked to the US to hand over Fetullah Gülen, an cleric exiled in Pennsylvania, who the government believes to be the mastermind of the coup.