The Latest: Erdogan supporters rally for 5th straight day

AP News
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Posted: Jul 19, 2016 4:03 PM
The Latest: Erdogan supporters rally for 5th straight day

ISTANBUL (AP) — The Latest on the attempted military coup in Turkey (all times local):

10:50 p.m.

Several hundred supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have gathered in Istanbul for the fifth straight day to rally behind the leader who survived the weekend's military coup.

The protesters on Tuesday called for the reinstatement of the death penalty. They chanted "we want executions!"

Erdogan has said Turks want swift justice, adding he would not oppose the reinstatement of the death penalty if parliament approves it.

The protesters also burned effigies representing the U.S.-based cleric the government accuses of masterminding the coup.

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10 p.m.

President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have discussed U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen's status during a telephone call.

Apart from the conversation Tuesday, Turkey provided the U.S. government with documents that were being reviewed to determine whether it amounted to a formal extradition request for Gulen, who lives in exile in Pennsylvania.

Turkey has blamed Gulen for being behind the failed military coup, a charge that Gulen denies.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama made clear to Erdogan that "the United States doesn't support terrorists. The United States doesn't support individuals who conspire to overthrow democratically elected governments. The United States follows the rule of law."

Earnest said a decision about whether to extradite Gulen will be made not by Obama, but according to a long-standing extradition treaty between the U.S. and Turkey.

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9:25 p.m.

The spokesman for Turkey's president says all of the country's military equipment is accounted for after a failed coup.

Ibrahim Kalin, spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, says "all the military assets are under control. There are no military equipment planes or F16s, or helicopters unaccounted for."

Kalin said that "all the security measures have been taken to make sure that we are ready for any security threat coming from" Kurdish rebels, the Islamic State group, or any other extremist organization.

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9:15 p.m.

The White House is reviewing material from Turkey to determine whether it amounts to a formal extradition request for a U.S.-based Muslim cleric.

Turkey's president blames the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, for the coup plot and has asked for his extradition.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the materials were presented Tuesday as Presidents Barack Obama and Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke by telephone.

Secretary of State John Kerry has said the U.S. would entertain such a request if the Turks provide evidence of wrongdoing. Earnest says the Justice and State Departments are reviewing the materials.

Earnest adds that a decision on whether to extradite would be made under a long-standing treaty between the two countries, and wouldn't be made by Obama.

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8:50 p.m.

The state-run Anadolu news agency is reporting that 1,500 employees have been dismissed from Turkey's Finance Ministry on suspicion of having ties to a group which Ankara claims is responsible for Friday's coup attempt.

The agency reported Tuesday that the Finance Ministry is currently working on further purges.

The firings are part of a wide-ranging crackdown which has resulted in tens of thousands of public employees being fired since Friday.

The mass firings come on top of the roughly 9,000 people who have been detained by the government, including security personnel, judges, prosecutors, religious figures and others. Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said courts have ordered 85 generals and admirals jailed pending trial over their suspected roles in the coup attempt.

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7 p.m.

A thousand pro-government demonstrators gathered together for a rally in Istanbul, waving flags, and chanting slogans and songs praising Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The demonstrators amassed in the conservative district of Fatih and demanded the "death penalty" for those responsible for the failed coup.

"We are not leaving these squares," said Durhan Yilmiz, an Istanbul municipality worker. "(The) Turkish flag cannot be lowered."

"Democracy meetings" and rallies have been held in all of major cities of Turkey after the chaos on Friday night and Saturday that left over 200 people dead and nearly 1,500 wounded.

The unrest began late Friday with tanks rolling onto the streets of the capital, Ankara, and Istanbul.

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6:55 p.m.

The state-run Anatolia news agency has reported that Turkey's Family and Social Policy Ministry has dismissed 393 personnel as part of the investigation into Friday night's failed coup.

In a statement released by the ministry on Tuesday, the personnel were dismissed over alleged ties to the movement led by U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the attempted coup.

The ministry says investigations are ongoing.

Sweeping purges in the aftermath of the coup has seen the dismissal of thousands from the judiciary, police force, military, bureaucracy and religious affairs departments.

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6:30 p.m.

The spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has blamed a "Gulenist clique within the Turkish army" for an attempted military coup.

Ibrahim Kalin said Tuesday that "all the evidence" pointed to the involvement of U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen in the coup plot.

"There will be legal evidence collected in this investigation and we will present all of this to the Americans as part of our extradition request," he said.

"On the grounds of suspicion, he can be easily extradited. We would like to see cooperation from the U.S. authorities on this issue.

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5:20 p.m.

State-run Anadolu news agency reports that Turkey's Board of Higher Education has requested the resignations of 1,577 university deans, effectively dismissing them.

Tuesday's announcement comes right on the heels of an announcement by the Ministry of National Education that it has dismissed 15,200 personnel over their alleged involvement with a group the government claims is responsible for Friday's failed coup.

Of the deans dismissed, 1,176 worked in public universities and 401 in private institutions.

Sweeping purges in the aftermath of the thwarted coup has seen the dismissal of thousands from the judiciary, police force, military and bureaucracy.

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5 p.m.

The state-run Anadolu news agency reports that Turkey's ministry of education has sacked 15,200 personnel for alleged involvement with a group the government claims is responsible for Friday's failed coup.

The National Education Ministry said Tuesday that the staff are in both urban and rural establishments, and that an investigation has been launched against them.

The government accuses U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen of plotting the coup and wants him extradited.

Sweeping purges in the aftermath of the coup have seen the dismissal of thousands from the judiciary, police force, military, administrative and religious affairs departments.

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4:30 p.m.

The state-run Anadolu news agency is reporting that Turkey's media regulatory agency has canceled all broadcast rights and licenses for any media outlets that are linked to or are supportive of the group the government holds responsible for Friday night's failed coup.

The agency said Tuesday that the Supreme Board of Radio and Television voted unanimously to revoke permissions for "any radio or television outlet connected with or supportive of" the group linked to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The government accuses him of plotting the coup and wants him extradited.

The vague directive doesn't identify specific media outlets, leaving it open for interpretation. The Turkish Journalist Association said they are discussing the new directive and have no immediate comment.

Domestic and international groups have condemned the crackdown against media outlets in the aftermath of the attempted coup.

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3:20 p.m.

Turkey's deputy prime minister says dossiers containing details of activities of the U.S-based cleric accused of plotting the failed coup have been sent to the U.S.

Numan Kurtulmus says Tuesday he can't go into the details of the files but said they include the past actions of the group led by Fethullah Gulen. They may also include new evidence that emerges from the current investigation. He said an extradition order will follow.

He said 9,000 people have been detained so far, of whom 80 were later released.

Religious authorities announced they have fired 492 staff, including clerics, preachers and religious teachers on suspicion they are linked to the botched coup.

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2:45 p.m.

Turkey's deputy prime minister has compared the movement of the U.S-based cleric accused of plotting the failed coup to the militant Islamic State group.

In comments to reporters Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said the movement of Fethullah Gulen has deviant religious ideology "no different than IS in the slightest."

He added if they had succeeded, the Gulen movement "would have taken Turkey back 40-50 years and could have broken up the country like Syria."

The government is asking the U.S. to extradite the cleric.

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2:40 p.m.

Turkey's state run Anadolu news agency reports that 257 people working at the office of the prime minister have been dismissed and their identification seized.

Tuesday's dismissals are over suspicion of their involvement in the movement linked to Friday night's attempted coup.

Sweeping purges in the aftermath of the coup have seen the dismissal of thousands from the judiciary, police force, military, bureaucracy and religious affairs departments.

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2:20 p.m.

Turkey's central bank has cut a key interest rate to help shore up the economy, days after an attempted coup.

In a statement Tuesday, the bank's Monetary Policy Committee said it has reduced its overnight marginal funding rate from 9 percent to 8.75 percent. All other interest rates were left unchanged.

The cut in the marginal rate is intended to shore up liquidity in the economy amid market concerns over the impact of Friday's attempted coup.

Though the rate-setting body didn't mention the coup directly, it said recent measures "have increased the resilience of the economy against shocks."

Turkish financial markets have been volatile since the coup. Despite a modest rally Tuesday, Turkish stocks are still way down from pre-coup levels, as is the Turkish lira.

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2:15 p.m.

The U.N. human rights chief is expressing alarm about the mass suspension or removals of judges in Turkey after a failed military coup and is calling on its leaders to strengthen democratic institutions.

Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein also decried comments from some officials that the death penalty could be reinstated, saying such a move would be "a big step in the wrong direction" and violate Turkey's responsibilities under international law.

In a statement Tuesday, Zeid praised Turks who "bravely took to the streets to defend their country," and urged authorities to respect "fair trial standards" for those responsible for Friday's failed coup.

He said it is "particularly crucial to ensure that human rights are not squandered in the name of security and in the rush to punish those perceived to be responsible."

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2:10 p.m.

Turkey's military command has declared that all elements responsible for Friday night's attempted coup have been neutralized.

In a written statement released Tuesday morning, the Office of the General Staff announced that all terrorist elements had been suppressed nationwide as of 4 p.m. Sunday.

The statement noted that between the political leadership, the heroism of the loyal security forces and the bravery of the public, "the necessary response had been given to the snakes in our midst."

According to official figures from the prime minister's office, Friday night's coup attempt resulted in 232 deaths and 1,541 wounded.

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2:05 p.m.

The state-run Anadolu news agency reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Air Force adviser, Lt. Col. Erkan Kivrak, has been detained at a hotel in the Serik district of Turkey's southern province of Antalya.

It says Kivrak was detained while on vacation. Following processing by the Antalya police, he has been transferred to Ankara.

No details were given as to the reason for the detention, though dozens of senior military personnel have been put under arrest for alleged involvement in Friday's thwarted coup.

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10:30 a.m.

Turkey's state-run news agency says courts have ordered 85 generals and admirals jailed pending trial over their roles in a botched coup attempt. Dozens of others were still being questioned.

Anadolu Agency said Tuesday that those formally arrested include former air force commander Gen. Akin Ozturk, alleged to be the ringleader of the July 15 uprising, and Gen. Adem Hududi, commander of Turkey's 2nd Army, which is charge of countering possible threats to Turkey from Syria, Iran and Iraq.

Authorities have rounded up thousands alleged to have been involved in the coup, in which 208 government supporters and 24 coup plotters. The government says a U.S.-based Muslim cleric was behind the coup.

Thousands of officials suspected of links to him were purged from the judiciary and the Interior Ministry.