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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Turkey Captures Soldiers Allegedly Linked to Coup as Crackdown Intensifies

by Chris Hannas August 01, 2016

Turkish forces detained 11 soldiers Monday who are suspected of attacking a hotel where President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was staying during an attempted coup in mid-July.

The captures were made near the resort town of Marmaris, and followed the detention last week of several other soldiers accused of targeting Erdogan. The president had been vacationing in Marmaris on July 15 when the attempt to overthrow his government began and has said he left his hotel shortly before a group of soldiers attacked.

Monday's captures are the latest in a crackdown against those who allegedly played a role in the attempted coup.

Sunday, the government dismissed nearly 1,400 military personnel, including Erdogan's top military adviser, as the president also brought the country's armed forces under civilian rule.

More than 50,000 people have now lost their jobs across the country and more than 18,000 have been detained in connection with the coup attempt, which the government has blamed on Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Gulen is an Erdogan opponent who has lived in the United States for nearly two decades and has denied any connection in the uprising. Turkey has demanded the U.S. extradite the 75-year-old Gulen and sent documents on his alleged involvement in the failed coup to U.S. officials.

The top U.S. military officer, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, is visiting Turkey Monday as part of a trip to assess the battle against the Islamic State group. The U.S.-led coalition conducting airstrikes against the militants has been using Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey for about a year after getting approval from Erdogan.

The Turkish government Monday also summoned Germany's charge d'affaires after a German court ruling prevented Erdogan from addressing by video a rally in the city of Cologne Sunday that drew tens of thousands of his supporters. An Erdogan spokesman called the ruling a violation of free expression.

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