Vast majority of Turkey military had no links to coup bid: Army

Relatives of the victims who were killed in the coup attempt on July 16, watch as a coffin is carried during a funeral in Ankara, on July 18, 2016.
Relatives of the victims who were killed in the coup attempt on July 16, watch as a coffin is carried during a funeral in Ankara, on July 18, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

ISTANBUL (AFP) - The Turkish army said Tuesday (July 19) that the vast majority of its members had no links with Friday's attempted coup and warned that the putschists would face severe punishment.

"The overwhelming majority of our members who love their people, nation and flag have absolutely nothing to do" with this coup "attempted by traitors," it said in a statement.

The army said the plooters would be punished severely for the "humiliation and disgrace" on the Turkish republic.

"Believers of the rule of law, democracy and the high value of our nation and its noble aims were the victors," it added.

The armed forces blamed the "Fethullah Terrorist Organisation" (FETO) for the failed putsch, referring to Fethullah Gulen, a one-time ally turned foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan has accused Gulen of leading the coup from afar in the United States - charges which the Islamic preacher strongly denies.

The army said its chief of staff Hulusi Akar had refused at gunpoint to sign a document in support of the attempted overthrow of the government.

"An illegal gang of terrorists in FETO tried to force the Chief of General Staff to sign a document and read a statement live on television by making threats against him," it said.

"The traitors made this request of the chief of General Staff which he strongly refused."