Er­do­gan in to­tal con­trol again as purge widens HONG KONG

The Myanmar Times - - World -

TURK­ISH Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan yes­ter­day chaired a crunch se­cu­rity meet­ing in Ankara for the first time since a failed coup, with tens of thou­sands ei­ther de­tained or sacked from their jobs in a widen­ing purge.

The Turk­ish air force, mean­while, launched its first strikes against tar­gets of the out­lawed Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party (PKK) in north­ern Iraq since the putsch aimed at un­seat­ing Mr Er­do­gan, in a sign he has re­gained full con­trol over the armed forces.

The coup rep­re­sented the most se­ri­ous threat to Mr Er­do­gan’s 13year dom­i­na­tion of Turkey, and the pres­i­dent has said he came within 15 min­utes of be­ing killed or kid­napped by the plot­ters be­fore es­cap­ing.

The putsch left over 300 dead and caused scenes of dev­as­ta­tion, es­pe­cially in Ankara where raids by F-16s and at­tack he­li­copters on strate­gic tar­gets ter­ri­fied res­i­dents and turned parts of par­lia­ment and the po­lice head­quar­ters to rub­ble.

More than 9000 sus­pects have been de­tained, in­clud­ing some of Turkey’s most se­nior gen­er­als, and thou­sands of of­fi­cials, po­lice and teach­ers have been dis­missed from their posts.

Mr Er­do­gan, who was in the Aegean re­sort of Mar­maris when the coup struck on July 15, flew to Is­tan­bul where he had stayed since, ap­pear­ing be­fore sup­port­ers each night in a “vigil” for democ­racy.

But the pres­i­dent re­turned to the cap­i­tal on July 18 for the first time since the coup.

He also held his first in­ter­na­tional bi­lat­eral meet­ing, host­ing Ge­or­gian Prime Min­is­ter Giorgi Kvirikashvili at his pres­i­den­tial palace.

The armed forces, mean­while, car­ried out their first air strikes against

Kur­dish mil­i­tants in north­ern Iraq, killing 20 fight­ers.

F-16 fighter jets hit tar­gets of PKK in the Hakurk re­gion of north­ern Iraq on July 19.

For­mer Turk­ish air force chief Gen­eral Akin Oz­turk, 25 other ex-gen­er­als and many sol­diers have been ar­rested, sus­pected of plan­ning the July 15 coup, in which rebel troops used jets and tanks to try to over­throw Mr Er­do­gan’s gov­ern­ment.

Yes­ter­day marked the first an­niver­sary of the re­sump­tion of fight­ing be­tween Turk­ish se­cu­rity forces and the PKK af­ter a largely suc­cess­ful twoand-a-half-year truce.

The cease­fire had sparked hopes of a peace deal to end three decades of con­flict with the PKK.

Er­do­gan sup­port­ers gather at Tak­sim Square in Is­tan­bul. The pres­i­dent is back in Ankara af­ter the failed coup.

Photo: AFP

Jimmy Pang (cen­tre), head of Hong Kong pub­lisher Sub­cul­ture, speaks to cus­tomers at his stall at the an­nual book fair in Hong Kong yes­ter­day. The city’s feisty pub­lish­ing in­dus­try has vowed to take on China by sell­ing books crit­i­cal of Bei­jing, de­spite the ab­duc­tion of five city book­sell­ers.

Photo: AFP

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