Turkey widened a crackdown on suspected supporters of a failed military coup on Sunday, taking the number of people rounded up in the armed forces and judiciary to 6,000, and the government said it was in full control of the country and economy.
Overnight, supporters of President Tayyip Erdogan rallied in public squares, at Istanbul airport and outside his palace in a show of defiance after the coup attempt killed at least 265 people.
With expectations growing of heavy measures against dissent, European politicians warned Erdogan that the coup attempt did not give him a blank cheque to disregard the rule of law, and that he risked isolating himself internationally as he strengthens his position at home.
Broadcaster NTV cited Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag, saying that more arrests were expected in addition to the 6,000 people already detained.
Authorities have rounded up nearly 3,000 suspected military plotters, ranging from top commanders to foot soldiers and the same number of judges and prosecutors after forces loyal to Erdogan crushed the attempted coup on Saturday.
“Among those arrested is General Bekir Ercan Van, commander of the Incirlik air base from which U.S. aircraft launch air strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq”, an official said.
“Control across Turkey has been restored and there are no clashes at the moment,” a senior official said, adding that although a few groups of coup plotters were holding out in Istanbul, they no longer posed a risk.
“There are still a few important soldiers on the run and being sought. I believe they will be captured shortly,” the official told reporters.
The crackdown appears to intensify a longstanding push by Erdogan to root out the influence of followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.