President Erdogan to shut down military schools after Turkey failed coup

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a 'national military university' will be founded instead

Alexandra Sims
Saturday 30 July 2016 21:33
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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after a news conference following the National Security Council and cabinet meetings at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after a news conference following the National Security Council and cabinet meetings at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey

The Turkish president has said he will close down the country’s military schools as a crackdown continues following a failed coup.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday a “national military university” will instead be founded as part of a vast shake-up of the country’s military.

Turkey announced wide-ranging changes in its armed forces on Wednesday with the promotion of 99 colonels to the rank of general or admiral as well as the dismissal of nearly 1,700 military personnel over their alleged links to the coup.

The purges have targeted those believed to be linked to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Ankara of masterminding the failed coup on 15 July, in which Mr Erdogan said 237 people were killed and more than 2,100 wounded.

Mr Erdogan also said he wanted to introduce constitutional changes to bring the Turkish spy agency and military chief of staff directly under his control.

"We are going to introduce a small constitutional package [to parliament] which, if approved, will bring the National Intelligence Organisation [MIT] and chief of staff under the control of the presidency," he told A-Haber television on Saturday.

Earlier, the Turkish government cancelled the passports of around 50,000 people to prevent them leaving the country.

Efkan Ala, the interior minister, said more than 18,000 have so far been detained over the attempt to oust Mr Erdogan, while thousands of government staff are under investigation.

The president has faced criticism over the scale of the crackdown in the aftermath of the coup, which has seen the arrest, removal and suspension of more than 70,000 people, according to the latest figures cited by the state-run Anadolu news agency, affecting workers in the judiciary, the education system, media, health care and other sectors.

Media outlets and journalists have been particularly affected by the crackdown tightening Mr Erdogan’s grip on power. Earlier this week the Turkish government ordered the closure of at least 131 newspapers, television and radio stations, magazines, publishers and news agencies.

Turkey's President Erdogan defends government action

An Istanbul court remanded 17 Turkish journalists in custody after 21 appeared before a judge charged with membership of a terror group, the Guardian reports.

Amid calls for restraint from the US and European allies, hundreds of listed conscripts were released from detention and Mr Erdogan announced he was dropping prosecutions against around 2,000 people alleged to have “insulted him”.

Military school students were reportedly among 758 out of 989 conscripts released at the request of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor after a court ruled that they did not pose a flight risk.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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