Turkey says ex-air force chief is ringleader of coup attempt

The former head of Turkey's air force is being named by government officials on Monday as the domestic ringleader of the failed coup attempt over the weekend which left 290 people dead.

Akin Ozturk was shown under arrest and battered as one of more than 100 generals and admirals who are accused of being part of the violent putsch effort.

More than 6,000 people have been arrested, including soldiers and judges, among them two members of the country's top court. Arrest warrants were issued for 250 judges and prosecutors, while 2,745 judges were dismissed from their posts at the weekend.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who survived the coup attempt, has pledged the "cleansing" of state institutions will continue, saying a cancer had spread like a "virus" and needed to be eradicated.

The government is blaming the coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a US-based, Turkish-born preacher and one-time ally turned rival of Erdogan accused of running a "parallel state." Gulen strongly denies any involvement.

Incirlik airbase, used for the US-led coalition bombing campaign against Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq, was again opened for operations after being shut for a day after the coup attempt.

General Bekir Ercan Van, commander of the airbase in southern Turkey, was arrested with 10 of his soldiers.

The Anadolu news agency reported late Sunday that 14 soldiers in Marmaris, where Erdogan was on holiday at the time of the putsch, had been arrested. The group had allegedly been responsible for a planned attack on Erdogan's hotel, and he later described a bombing there after his departure.

Erdogan said he will discuss with opposition parties in parliament about the possibility of capital punishment for those who carried out the failed coup attempt.

Capital punishment has not been used in Turkey since 1984 and was abolished in 2004.

Last update: Mon, 18/07/2016 - 15:05

View the discussion thread.

More from World

Naked Trump sculpture fetches nearly 22,000 dollars at auction

A life-size street art sculpture depicting a fully naked Donald Trump has sold at auction for approximately 22,000...

Cameroon rescuers find more bodies after train crash

Two days after the derailment of a passenger train claimed more than 70 lives in Cameroon, rescuers were searching...

Journalists arrested in Burundi not from BBC, broadcaster says

Two journalists who were arrested in Burundi were "not on assignment" for the BBC, the British broadcaster told dpa...

Worker dies at World Cup stadium in Qatar

A worker has died in a "work-related" incident at a stadium in Qatar, local organizers for the 2022 World Cup said...

Islamic State militants launch counter-attack in western Iraq

Islamic State forces launched an attack in western Iraq Sunday, an apparent response to an ongoing government...