Ankara, August 10, 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency
The more than 200 soldiers who have been at large since the July 15 failed coup attempt could engage in assassinations, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş has said, adding that they could also attempt to stage cyberattacks.
“There are 216 fugitive soldiers. They and their collaborators can engage in individual actions and assassinations,” Kurtulmuş told Turkish broadcaster Habertürk late on Aug. 9, adding the government should be “vigilant after this point.”
“The state is vigilant with all its units. It’s standing cautious in order to get rid of the threats that could come after this point,” he also said.
Kurtulmuş on Aug. 8 said that a total of 216 soldiers from various ranks, including nine generals, suspected of plotting the failed takeover, believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), were still at large.
“As of now, 186 Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] and 30 Gendarmerie General Command member personnel – 216 people in total – are at large. They have fled,” he had said.
Saying that all of the state cadres should be cleansed of FETÖ members, Kurtulmuş told the broadcaster that the followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen should account for what they’ve done.
“This FETÖ gang and their collaborators won’t say, ‘We give up, we’re beaten, let’s step aside.’ They might cause certain perceptions to form that could give way to the worsening of Turkey’s economy,” he also said.
During the interview, Kurtulmuş also touched upon Turkey’s demand for the extradition of Gülen from the U.S., saying that if Washington didn’t accept Ankara’s demand, relations will be harmed.
“If the Americans don’t empathize with us, then they would be doing wrong,” he added.