Ankara: At a time when the Turkish government is detaining many thousands of officials suspecting their involvement in the failed coup, former Air Force chief of Turkey has confessed his role in plotting the conspiracy that attempted to overthrow the government, state-run Anadolu Agency said today.
Days after the attempt was made against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish government stepped up its crackdown on the alleged supporters of the conspiracy by removing nearly 9,000 security officials.
In addition to this, up to 6,000 members of the armed forces and judiciary have also been rounded off, including three of the country's top generals and hundreds of soldiers, said Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag.
Also, dozens of arrest warrants have been issued for judges and prosecutors deemed to be government opponents.
The wide reach of the government crackdown raised concerns over the future of democracy in Turkey, which has long prided itself on its democratic and secular traditions despite being in a tumultuous region swept by conflict and extremism.
The coup attempt began late Friday with tanks rolling into the streets of the capital, Ankara, and Istanbul as Erdogan was on vacation. Explosions and gunfire erupted throughout the night. It quickly became clear, however, that the military was not united in the effort to overthrow the government. In a dramatic iPhone interview broadcast on TV, Erdogan urged supporters into the streets to confront the troops and tanks, and forces loyal to the government began reasserting control.