Some 311 soldiers involved in the failed coup attempt are still missing, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik told CNN Turk yesterday (1 August), leaving the door open for further expulsions from the military.
Following the dismissal of thousands of soldiers after the failed coup in mid-July, Turkey’s defense minister said that expulsions from the military were not entirely over and more personnel would be dismissed if necessary.
In the aftermath of the attempted coup, the Turkish authorities have already fired, suspended or arrested nearly 70,000 employees in education, the media and the armed forces.
At the same time, Ankara strengthened its political control over the army, which has taken power four times since the 1960s.
With a decree signed by President Racep Tayyip Erdoğan, the defense ministry announced the transfer of 167 senior officers to new posts. In addition, a previous presidential decree authorised Erdoğan and Prime Minister Binali Yildirim to issue direct orders to the heads of the Turkish army.
Eight soldiers in Greece
Meanwhile, the future of the eight Turkish military personnel who fled by helicopter to Greece after the coup attempt is still unclear.
The eight soldiers landed at Alexandroupolis airport on 16 July, and as they were arrested they claimed political asylum.
Ankara has warned Athens that the soldiers should be extradited as they were involved in the coup attempt, while the Greek government claims that it will act in accordance with international law and the protection of human rights.
Sources recently told EURACTIV that the Greek government had the political will to accelerate the extradition of fugitives but Erdoğan’s announcements regarding the introduction of death penalty “are just making the situation more complicated”.
Ilia Marinaki, the lawyer for the eight soldiers, recently said that they are aware of the turmoil in Turkey and fear for their lives.
“We cannot say anything about the time-frame of the examination of the international protection requests,” director of the Asylum Service Maria Stavropoulos told Athens Agency, adding that “the general rule is that the process will be completed as quickly as possible”.