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  • Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gather on Taksim square in Istanbul, Turkey, July 17, 2016.

    Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gather on Taksim square in Istanbul, Turkey, July 17, 2016. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 July 2016
Opinion

Erdogan's “cleansing operation” following a failed coup makes Western allies uneasy. 

As President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ratchets up his crackdown on dissidents following a failed coup this weekend, a Turkish military general Akin Ozturk, confessed Monday that he indeed "acted with intention to stage a coup," the BBC reported.

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Ozturk appeared in photos with 70 other generals and admirals who have been detained in the aftermath of the coup. The photograph shows the former Turkish air force commander with visible injuries to his head and upper body. Ozturk had initially denied any involvement in the coup attempt and had insisted he worked to stop it.

The days and hours following the coup have been almost as volatile as the coup itself which began Friday and spilled into the wee hours of Saturday morning, concluding with Erdogan returing to the capital and reclaiming control. Since then, he has ordered the purge of as many as 8,000 police officers across Turkey, while another 6,000 military personnel, judges and othrer bureaucrats have been arrested following violent clashes in Turkey´s major cities, that left at least 290 people killed.

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But international leaders have said that Erdogan’s “cleansing operation” may jeopardize Turkey’s relations with other countries.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned that NATO could reject Turkey’s membership application if it fails to uphold the rule of law, though he also said the United States is "squarely on the side of the elected leadership in Turkey.” Other world leaders, including the U.K.’s new Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders, have called for “restraint and moderation” from President Erdogan.

Erdogan seemed to ignore the warnings and defiantly said Sunday that Turkey would consider reinstating the death penalty, 12 years after it was abolished. But EU officials have said that such a move would likely stall a decision on Turkey’s request to join the European Union. Ironically, Turkey´s repeal of capital punishment was originally intended to expedite its application for EU membership.

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