1,500 Turkish soldiers arrested over coup attempt

By Hatice Senses Kurukiz

ISTANBUL (AA) – More than 1,500 soldiers were under arrest Saturday following an attempted coup in Turkey, a senior military officer said.

Gen. Umit Dundar, the head of the 1st Army who was appointed interim military chief after the chief of the general staff was seized by pro-coup troops, said 1,563 had been detained.

“In total 90 people, including 41 police and two soldiers were martyred,” he said in a news conference at Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. He added that 1,154 people had been injured.

Gen. Hulusi Akar, the head of Turkey’s military, was freed from an air force base in north Ankara on Saturday and taken to the crisis center dealing with the aftermath of the coup.

Dundar emphasized that the coup had not come from within the higher echelons of the army and vowed to remove the “parallel structure” from within the military – a reference to the supporters of Fetullah Gulen who are accused of infiltrating the Turkish state.

“Those traitors will not go unpunished,” Dundar said.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier announced that a group within the Turkish military attempted to overthrow the government.