Turkey Widens Post-Coup Purge, Over 7,500 Detained

Justice Minister Confirms 'The Cleansing Is Continuing'

by Jason Ditz, July 18, 2016

The official number of detained people in the wake of Friday’s failed coup in Turkey has now passed 7,500, with estimates that over 20,000 people have either been arrested or fired from their jobs on allegations they were in some way involved.

9,000 police were removed from duty, along with 30 governors and a third of the military’s generals and admirals. Though many expected Erdogan to use the failed coup as an excuse to “clean house,” many are surprised at just how far the government is going, which has led to international expressions of concern.

How much farther the purge is going to go remains uncertain, with Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag only saying “the cleansing is continuing,” and the police soliciting more anonymous tips of “terrorists” involved in the coup.

In the somewhat longer-term the continuation of the crackdown seems to be leading toward a return of the death penalty, with President Erdogan insisting that “the people on the streets” want to see those involved executed, insisting they don’t want to “keep them and feed them in prisons for years to come.

How broad the use of the death penalty will be is also a matter of speculation, though the mass detentions and the holding of large numbers of people stripped and bound in large common rooms surrounded by armed guards certainly doesn’t give the impression that the court system, or what is left of it after the purge, is going to be handling the matter in a traditional manner.

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