Three SAT commandos detained on coup charges in Edirne while trying to flee Turkey

Three Turkish Underwater Attack Commandos (SAT) commandos who allegedly took part in a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, were detained in Edirne province on Tuesday while they were trying to flee the country.

The commandoes, one lieutenant and two sergeant majors identified only by their initials as A.Ç., Y.Ö. and M.Ö., reportedly confessed in their first depositions that they were among the members of a military team which aimed to take Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hostage at the Huber Mansion in İstanbul on the night of July 15, 2016.

They reportedly said they could not take Erdoğan hostage because he turned out to be in the western holiday resort of Marmaris on that night.


Meanwhile, prosecutors have issued detention warrants for a total of 85 people working at Turkey’s Education Ministry and Energy Ministry over their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.

Sixty of the individuals work for the Energy Ministry while 25 work for the Education Ministry, according to Turkish media reports. Some of the individuals have already been fired from their jobs as part of an ongoing government-led witch-hunt against  Gülen followers.

As of Tuesday morning, 40 of the people for whom detention warrants were issued were detained in police operations while police operations were under way to detain the others.

All the 85 individuals are reportedly users of a smart phone application known as ByLock, which is considered as the top communication tool by the Turkish authorities among the followers of the Gülen movement.

Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.

The military coup attempt killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey. (SCF with May 16, 2017

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