Erdoğan admits being behind arrests of thousands in post-coup purge

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and himself are behind the arrests of thousands of people in a crackdown launched in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The failed putsch claimed the lives of more than 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the AKP government along with Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect and initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Speaking at a meeting in İstanbul on Wednesday with the families of the people killed or injured during the coup attempt on July 15, Erdoğan directed accusations at the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu due to his remarks about the coup attempt’s being a controlled one.

“There are currently thousands of people in prisons. As the executive body, who jailed them, is it you [Kılıçdaroğlu]? We are the ones who jailed them. They are in the hands of the judiciary now, they are being tried. What will be their fate? The judiciary will make the decision about this,” said Erdoğan.

According to a statement from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on April 2, a total of 113,260 people have been detained as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt, while 47,155 were put into pre-trial detention. ( April 13, 2017

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