Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Saturday reported [press conference, NYT video] 265 dead, 1,440 wounded and 2,839 soldiers arrested in the attempted coup on Friday. The coup began [USA Today report] when military forces seized key areas of the country and control of state-run television stations. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused [NYT report] the followers of exiled Muslim cleric in Pennsylvania, Fethullah Gulen, as the coup’s plotters. Gulen has denied any involvement. The government has largely regained control with some parts of the country experiencing continued unrest. Saturday saw a nation-wide purge [Atlantic report] of dissidents suspected of involvement in the coup with greater authority as the Turkish parliament recently passed [Reuters report] a judicial reform bill that allows the president to replace “troublesome” judges with allies. The plotters had issued the following televised statement [Al Jazeera report] that may shed light on their possible motives:
Turkish armed forces have completely taken over the administration of the country to reinstate constitutional order, human rights and freedoms, the rule of law and the general security that was damaged. All international agreements are still valid. We hope that all our good relationships with all countries will continue.
Erdogan has vowed [BBC backgrounder] that those involved in the coup will “pay a heavy price” and the aftermath of the coup may be bloody and repressive [Guardian report] as the state of human rights has been controversial in Turkey for years. This week, Human Rights Watch (HRW) released [JURIST report] a report stating that Turkey has blocked access for independent investigations into mass abuses against civilians. Earlier this month a US federal court dismissed [JURIST report] a lawsuit against Gulen alleging he issued orders from Pennsylvania directing his followers in Turkey to launch a campaign of persecution against other religious groups in that country. US Secretary of State John Kerry has stated [Independent report] that the US would “consider” an extradition request for the cleric if it is proven that he was involved in the attempted coup. In May the Turkish parliament granted immunity to armed forces conducting counter-terrorism measures and advanced [JURIST reports] an amendment to strip immunity privileges from members of parliament. In 2015, then-Human Rights Commissioner for Germany stated [JURIST report] that Turkey must improve its human rights record before it can be admitted to the EU.