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Published: Sun, July 17, 2016
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Turkey arrests 100 judges, 60 military for alleged coup ties


Turkish authorities have continued their crackdown in the aftermath of an attempted coup, with more than 6,000 people detained as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's revenge mission raises fears for the future of democracy in the region.

The unrest claimed at least 265 lives, according to a tally compiled from official statements.

U.S. President Barack Obama expressed support for Turkey's government and urged parties on all sides of the crisis to avoid destabilizing the country and follow the rule of law.

The attempted coup in Turkey has so far left 161 people killed and 1,440 wounded in the overnight violence, according to the Turkish premier, who added that 2,839 plotters have also been detained. "It was conducted by a clique within the Armed Forces and received a well-deserved response from our nation", Çakıl said.

Before the chaos, Turkey - a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member and key Western ally in the fight against the Islamic State group - had been wracked by political turmoil that critics blamed on Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian rule.

In Istanbul, protesters waving flags and chanting democracy slogans gathered at Taksim Square.

Government supporters marched through Ankara as cars honked in apparent approval.

Among those detained were top military commanders, including the head of the Second Army which protects the country's borders with Syria, Iraq and Iran, state-run Anadolu news agency said.

About 50 soldiers involved in the coup surrendered on one of the bridges across the Bosphorus Strait in Istanbul after dawn on Saturday, abandoning their tanks with their hands raised in the air.

Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, U.S., about a hundred Turkish nationals from neighboring states converged in front of Gulen's residence in Saylorsburg.

Flights resumed late Saturday into Istanbul's Anaturk Airport after being halted for almost 24 hours and scores of government supporters gathered to make sure the airport was not a coup target again. Late Saturday, the usually buzzing airport was eerily quiet with some stranded travelers sitting on the floors of the largely empty terminals. The coup might have been "an organized attempt" by this group of mostly middle rank officers.

"The situation unfolded in Turkey was a coup attempt to overthrow the democratically-elected government".

Erdogan, a polarising figure whose Islamist-rooted ideology lies at odds with supporters of modern Turkey's secular principles, said the plotters had tried to attack him in the resort town of Marmaris.

Erdogan has repeatedly accused Gulen of trying to overthrow him and without any success repeatedly demanded that the United States extradite him.

Reports also said that former Air Force Commander, Akin Ozturk, one of the masterminds behind the coup attempt was detained in Ankara.

"There is a slight chance, there is a possibility that it could be a staged coup", Gulen told reporters through a translator in Pennsylvania, where he resides. Washington, however, has never found any evidence particularly compelling previously against the cleric.

In a televised speech on Saturday, Mr Erdogan called on the United States to extradite Mr Gulen and an official said Turkey was preparing a formal extradition application.

"Government should be won through a process of free and fair elections, not force", he said.

"As someone who suffered under multiple military coups during the past five decades, it is especially insulting to be accused of having any link to such an attempt".

Hasan Guclu, a protest organizer from DE, said the demonstration won't be enough to shame Gulen into returning to his home country to face charges, but the protest is nonetheless significant for raising awareness.

Erdogan's AK Party has long had strained relations with the military, which has a history of mountingcoups to defend secularism although it has not seized power directly since 1980.

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