Turkey coup bid: Erdogan says US general 'taking side of plotters'

Carter VotelUS Defence Secretary Aston Carter (L) alongside Gen Votel at a press conference this month

Turkey's president has blasted remarks by top US general Joseph Votel in the wake of the failed coup, accusing him of being "on the side of the plotters".

Gen Votel, head of US Central Command, said jailing some military leaders could damage Turkish-American military co-operation.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Gen Votel should thank Turkey for securing democracy.

The interior minister said on Friday 18,000 people had so far been detained.

'Know your place!'

Gen Votel had said on Thursday: "We have certainly had relationships with a lot of Turkish leaders - military leaders in particular. I am concerned about what the impact is on those relationships as we continue."

On Friday, President Erdogan condemned the comments, saying: "It's not up to you to make that decision. Who are you? Know your place! You are taking the side of coup plotters instead of thanking this state for defeating the coup attempt."

He added: "They [the critics] say, 'We worry for [Turkey's] future'. But what are these gentlemen worried about? Whether the numbers of detained and arrested will increase? If they are guilty, they will increase."

The US national intelligence director, James Clapper, also said on Thursday that the crackdown was disrupting Turkish-American military co-operation in fighting the so-called Islamic State.

Turkey announced a military reshuffle on Thursday evening, including the dishonourable discharge of 1,700 military servicemen. About 40% of generals and admirals have been discharged since the coup.

Turkey is removing potential supporters of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen from state institutions.

It accuses him of being behind the coup attempt, something he denies.

More than 66,000 public sector workers have been dismissed from their posts and 50,000 passports cancelled, while the labour ministry is investigating 1,300 of its staff. The state has also shut 142 media outlets and detained several journalists.

source: GhanaWeb