Arrests pass 6,000 as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promises fierce retribution following failed military coup

Jake Cordell
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The military secured a number of key locations during its attempt to oust  President Erdogan on Friday night
The military secured a number of key locations during its attempt to oust President Erdogan on Friday night (Source: Getty)

The government crackdown following the failed military coup in Turkey continued over the weekend, with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan promising to "cleanse" his opponents as the number of arrests surpassed 6,000.

On Sunday Turkish officials claimed the government had regained full control of the state apparatus after the military briefly locked down parts of Istanbul and the capital Ankara and gained control of state broadcasters on Friday night. President Erdogan continued to blame former ally Fethullah Gulen as being behind the attempt to oust him from power and said he was preparing an extradition request to bring the US-based cleric back to Turkey.

Gulen, conversely, accused Erdogan of staging the plot in a bid to justify a purge of the army and judiciary.

More than 6,000 have now been rounded up in swift retribution from the Turkish president, after an unprecedented call to arms issued from his plane and broadcast via video call on a mobile phone brought pro-government supporters to the streets and helped crush the coup attempt on Friday night.

Read more: A short history of Turkish coups

Erdogan also raised the prospect of reinstating the death penalty in response to the events after a chorus of his supporters called for capital punishment to be brought back on Sunday morning. Turkey abolished the death penalty in 2004 in preparation to join the European Union and has not actually executed anybody for more than three decades.

"We cannot ignore this demand," the Turkish president said in response to the protest. "In democracies, whatever the people say has to happen."

The official death toll from clashes over the weekend has now risen to 290, and the number of those injured has surpassed 1,400, according to Turkish government figures.

The Turkish President attends the funeral of one of the victims of Friday's attempted military takeover

At the funeral for victims of the coup this afternoon, Erdogan promised the period of retribution was not over: "We will continue to cleanse the virus from all state institutions, because this virus has spread. Unfortunately like a cancer, this virus has enveloped the state."

The United States, which denied reports it was in any way linked to the coup as "utterly false", also resumed launching anti-Islamic State airstrikes from the Incirlik air base in south Turkey this afternoon. The commander of the base was one of those arrested today and military operations there were suspended until this afternoon following Friday's attempted putsch.

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