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Monday, July 18, 2016

Turkey prepared 'purge' lists prior to coup, says EU leader

Turkey has arrested more than 6,000 during purges of the army and judiciary following the failed coup attempt over the weekend. More than 290 people were killed and some 1,400 wounded in the abortive uprising Friday night and Saturday.

While Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed an exiled Muslim cleric for inspiring the attempted overthrow of Turkey’s government, conspiracy theories have abounded that Erdogan himself may be behind the attempted takeover, using it as a pretext to purge the military and courts of possible enemies.

On Monday, European Union commissioner Johannes Hahn said the rapid mass arrests immediately following the coup attempt suggested the purges were pre-planned.
“It looks at least as if something has been prepared. The lists are available, which indicates it was prepared and to be used at a certain stage. I’m very concerned. It is exactly what we feared.”

Hahn’s comments have fueled speculation the coup attempt was orchestrated by the Turkish president himself.

On Monday it was also revealed that rebel pilots had targeted Erdogan’s plane as the president returned to Istanbul, yet did not open fire. A senior Turkish official claimed rebel forces targeted Erdogan with airstrikes, missing him “by minutes”.