Erdogan has arrested 43,000 since failed Coup
Friday, 20 January 2017

Turkey has arrested 43,000 people in the last six months over links to Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Turkish preacher accused of orchestrating a coup attempt last year, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday.

Gulen was longtime ally of the government, however his work to undermine the Government behind the scenes drew the ire of the Turkish officials who attempted to arrest him in 2013. However, an unmarked CIA plane whisked him out of the country, to safety in the US. The relationship has soured significantly sunce the failed July coup.

Critics of Erdogan say the crackdown over the last half-year has expanded from alleged Gulenists to the wider opposition, as well as journalists. The European Federation of Journalists says 124 reporters and other media workers are currently jailed in Turkey. However, considering the admittance of recently deceased German journalist Udo Ulfkotte that some "journalists" are actual "no cover" intelligence operatives, their detention isn't too surprising. No cover means if they get caught, their employer (intel agency) would deny any involvement or knowledge of them, meaning they're on their own.

Erdogan also said 871 members of the security forces have been killed in battles over the last 18 months with Kurdish militants affiliated with the armed Kurdistan Workers‘ Party (PKK). Also, 337 civilians have died, he said, dpa reported.

The president said 10,000 "terrorists" have been neutralized since 2015, when peace talks and a ceasefire with the PKK broke down, and 12,000 militants and alleged supporters have been arrested.

Erdogan has ruled out returning to peace talks with the PKK, which says it is fighting for greater rights and autonomy for the large Kurdish minority in Turkey.

The PKK has given a far lower number of its own fighters killed in battles with state security forces. The International Crisis Group confirmed at least 2,495 people have been killed in the renewed violence, including 1,021 PKK militants.

Since the failed coup, Turkey has been in a state of emergency, granting the government more powers. The security forces had been arrested alleged Gulenists also in the period leading up to the coup.


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