More than 10,000 arrested in Turkey since coup attempt, says Erdogan

The number of people arrested in Turkey following last week's attempted coup has climbed to 10,410, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Anadolu news agency in late-night comments.

Reports earlier Friday had put the number at about 9,000.

Of those arrested, 4,060 have been placed in detention, he said.

The government also voided the passports of nearly 11,000 people, mostly federal employees, according to Interior Minister Efkan Ala, who spoke with CNN Turk.

The people whose passports are affected already have gone into hiding or already are in police custody, government sources said.

In addition, nearly 283 soldiers belonging to a special forces regiment in the presidential palace in Ankara have been arrested.

The rapid pace of arrests - which Erdogan insists is targeting supporters of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan says was behind the failed July 15 coup - has worried many of Turkey's Western allies, who say they see Turkey going down an increasingly authoritarian road.

Ankara meanwhile has intensified checks on Turkish citizens leaving the country in a move to prevent people associated with the attempted coup from escaping.

The government has vowed to "clean" the civil service from Gulen supporters. All civil servants have been banned from going on holiday, while those currently abroad have been asked to return home.

Sources close to the government said Friday that Turks travelling from any of the country's international airports now must provide proof of their employment.

Civil servants as well as their spouses and children will need authorisation by their employer to travel, while other employees will have to prove that they work in the private sector and are therefore not civil servants.

Turkey entered into a 90-day state of emergency on Thursday, which Erdogan has said is necessary to restore order after the attempted coup, which left 260 dead. Turkey is also demanding that the United States extradite Gulen.

People have continued to celebrate the crushing of the coup since the weekend. Thousands gathered overnight on the Bosporous Bridge, which was occupied by troops in tanks who fired on civilians during the coup attempt.

Yasin Aktay, spokesman of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP), said the country should be applauded for the state of emergency. Aktay told Anadolu: "We cannot understand the criticism we're getting from Europe about this.

"There have been two recent incidents in France and Belgium where terrorist attacks resulted in six months of states of emergency, which were extended for six months."

He noted that Turkey had been the victim of multiple terrorist attacks and had refrained until now from issuing a state of emergency.

Aktay said, of the 10,410 people arrested, 7,423 were soldiers; 287 were police; and 2,014 judges and prosecutors. Furthermore, 686 civilians had been arrested. Of the soldiers, 162 were generals, almost half the generals in the second-largest army of the NATO alliance.

Beyond the arrests, more than 37,500 civil servants and police officers have been suspended. Additionally, 21,000 teachers in private schools have lost their licences.

In the light of events in Turkey, Germany has said it would slow down talks on the country's accession to the EU. Whether or not negotiations would be halted completely, however, was not immediately clear.

"This is not a German decision after all," Germany's government spokesman Steffen Seifert said in Berlin on Friday.

While the EU has so far not moved to suspend the talks, a document from 2005 setting down the framework for accession talks says the commission will recommend suspension of negotiations in the case of a serious breaches of the principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Progress on accession has been slow, with only 15 out of 35 negotiation chapters having been addressed and only one completed.

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