Clashes between security forces, putschists at Turkish air base

Turkish soldiers loading the tanks on to transporters to return them to military bases, in Istanbul, following a failed coup attempt, on July 17, 2016.
Turkish soldiers loading the tanks on to transporters to return them to military bases, in Istanbul, following a failed coup attempt, on July 17, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkish security forces and putschists briefly clashed at an air base in the central city of Konya on Sunday (July 17), a Turkish official said.

"We are able to confirm that there are clashes at the air base in Konya between the security forces and putschists resisting arrest," the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The state-run news agency Anadolu later reported the fighting had come to an end and said six military personnel were arrested.

Seventy generals and admirals were taken into custody across the country, the agency added, as the authorities cracked down on suspected backers of Friday's failed military coup.

The Turkish official also confirmed an incident at Istanbul's Sabiha Gokcen airport, where police fired warning shots at putschists who were resisting arrest. They eventually surrendered.

Earlier on Sunday, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said around 6,000 people had been detained in "clean-up operations" and predicted that the number would rise.

 

Among those arrested were senior army commanders, judges, prosecutors and a military aide to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ali Yazici, who had only been working for the president since August last year, Anadolu reported.

President Erdogan has put the blame for the coup on supporters of his arch-foe, US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whose Hizmet movement has had much influence within Turkish society, including the media, police and judiciary.

The government said that 265 people lost their lives in the attempted coup, including 161 civilians and regular troops. A total of 104 coup plotters were killed, the military said.