Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday chaired a crunch security meeting for the first time since the failed coup, after a widening purge that has seen around 50,000 people either detained or sacked.
The Turkish air force meanwhile launched its first strikes since Friday’s putsch against targets of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, in a sign Erdogan has regained full control over the armed forces.
The coup bid by rebel soldiers was the most serious blow to Erdogan’s 13-year domination of Turkey, and the president has said he came within 15 minutes of being killed or kidnapped by the plotters before escaping.
The putsch left more than 300 people dead and caused scenes of devastation, especially in Ankara where raids by fighter jets and attack helicopters on strategic targets terrified residents and turned parts of parliament and the police headquarters to rubble.
More than 9,000 suspects have been detained, including some of Turkey’s most senior generals, who are accused of being the ringleaders of the plot.
In total, about 48,800 state employees, including police and teachers, have been dismissed from their posts or detained, according to figures published by the Hurriyet daily and CNN-Turk.
Ankara says the coup was masterminded by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and the massive crackdown appears to be targeting individuals suspected of any connection to Erdogan’s ally-turned-foe.
The purges have stoked alarm that Erdogan was using the coup plot to crack down on opponents, with Turkey’s Western allies urging the authorities in the strategic NATO state to obey the rule of law.
The president returned to the capital late Tuesday for the first time since the coup and was chairing a meeting at his presidential palace of his national security council, composed of top military brass and security ministers.
He will then chair a cabinet meeting, also at the palace, whose immediate vicinity was bombed during the military power grab.