Turkey shakes up military, closes media after coup bid

In a symbolic sign of how civilian authorities are now firmly in charge, Thursday's military council meeting was held at the prime minister's office rather than General Staff headquarters. The dishonourable discharges included around 40 percent of Turkey's admirals and generals.

Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's son-in-law, told reporters US-based Turkish preacher Fetullah Gulen supporters had successfully infiltrated the armed forces and authorities had been planning to purge them ahead of the coup.

The German analyst also believes that Ankara understands perfectly well that Turkey is "not so well-loved in Europe", and that the barriers to entry into the European Union are growing higher and higher.

The government on Wednesday announced the discharge of 149 generals - almost half the armed forces' entire contingent of 358 - for complicity in the putsch bid.

In addition, 1,099 officers and 436 junior officers have received a dishonorable discharge, according to the decree.

The General Staff also said 35 planes, including 24 fighter jets, 37 helicopters, 74 tanks and three ships had been used by the coup plotters, NTV reported.

The military has insisted that only a tiny proportion of the total armed forces - which number around three quarters of a million, the second-largest in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation after the United States - participated.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has denied the allegations.

He was referring to Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric Ankara accuses of being the mastermind behind the July 15 coup attempt, which left at least 290 people dead, including more than 100 "coup plotters". He retired this year as the last commander of the International Security Assistance Force in the war-ravaged country.

Yeni Şafak's July 25 front-page headline read: "This man led the coup", next to a photograph of the veteran armyman. Of those, more than 8,000 were formally arrested pending trial.

Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said Gulen had wanted to return to Turkey from his leafy compound in Pennsylvania, just like Iranian Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini did when he returned to Tehran from Paris in 1979 in the Islamic revolution.

On Wednesday, three news agencies, 16 television stations, 23 radio stations, 45 newspapers, 15 magazines and 29 publishers, were ordered to shut down, according to an official statement.

Arrest warrants were issued for 47 journalists who used to work for Zaman, which was seen as supportive of the Gulen movement and was Turkey's most widely read daily prior to a government seizure in early March.

Separately, Turkey's biggest petrochemicals company Petkim said its chief executive had resigned and the state-run news agency Anadolu said he had been detained in connection with the failed coup.

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