Turkey coup arrests hit 6,000 as President roots out ‘virus’

 

Turkey has arrested 6,000 people after a failed coup, with President Erdogan vowing to purge state bodies of the “virus” that caused the revolt.

Mr Erdogan’s top military aide Col Ali Yazici is among those now in custody.

The overall death toll for the weekend violence has risen to 290, the foreign ministry said. More than 100 of those were participating in the coup.

Security forces are reported to have met resistance from some coup plotters who were being arrested.

Warning shots were fired at Istanbul’s second largest airport, and also at a military base in central Konya province, unnamed officials said.

“We will continue to cleanse the virus from all state institutions, because this virus has spread. Unfortunately like a cancer, this virus has enveloped the state,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told mourners at a funeral in Istanbul for victims of the coup.

Mr Erdogan broke down in tears while speaking at the funeral of a close political ally, his campaign manager Erol Olcak, and his teenage son. He said he would take the country forward in “unity and solidarity”.

The president repeated an accusation that cleric Fethullah Gulen was behind the plot, and called for him to be extradited from the US. Mr Gulen strongly denies any involvement.

Emotions are running high as funerals for those killed during the coup plot are held. President Erdogan was among those mourning in Istanbul for the brother of one of his closest advisers.

“My glorious nation has given the best response to the coup plotters,” Mr Erdogan said in a televised speech frequently interrupted by chants of “God is Great!” Whenever he made a reference to Fethullah Gulen, the roar of boos would come from the crowd.

 

 

 

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