EghtesadOnline: The European Union (EU) urged Turkey to respect the rule of law amid a Turkish crackdown on those believed to have been involved in a recent coup attempt in the country.
“We are the ones saying today rule of law has to be protected in the country, there is no excuse for any steps that take the country away from that,” said Federica Mogherini, who is the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, in Brussels on Monday.
“As we have been the first ones to say that in that tragic night, the democratic and legislative institutions needed to be protected,” she told journalists before an EU foreign ministers meeting, referring to last Friday night, when the coup attempt in Turkey began.
“Today, we will say, together with ministers, that obviously doesn’t mean that rule of law and the system of checks and balances in the country does not count. On the contrary, it needs to be protected for the sake of the country… So we will send a strong message on that,” she added.
According to ISNA, the measures taken by Ankara following the failed coup attempt has prompted increasing international concern.
At least 6,000 people, including judges, have been arrested across the country after the failed coup.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault earlier said “the rule of law must prevail” in Turkey.
“France has condemned the coup, you can’t accept the military taking power,” Ayrault said. “At the same time, we have to be vigilant that the Turkish authorities don’t put in place a system which turns back democracy.”
Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders also called for restraint. “It’s normal to punish those involved in the coup, but it’s normal to ask for respect for the rule of law,” he said.
EU commissioner Johannes Hahn, who is dealing with Turkey’s request to join the bloc, has said it appears that the Turkish government had prepared a list of people to be arrested even before the coup attempt.
“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,” Hahn said.
Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hinted that the death penalty may be reintroduced in Turkey to allow the execution of those involved in the coup bid.
The move has been condemned by the Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz as “unacceptable.”
“There must be no arbitrary purges, no criminal sanctions outside the framework of the rule of law and the justice system,” Kurz said.
“Austria will push at the foreign ministers’ meeting… to set very clear boundaries for Erdogan,” he added.
Turkey conducted fresh raids against suspected coup plotters on Monday.
The state-run Anadolu news agency reported that special Istanbul anti-terror police units raided the air force military academy in the city in search of more suspects.
Meanwhile, General Mehmet Disli, who allegedly conducted the operation to capture Turkey’s chief of staff, Hulusi Akar, during the coup, was also arrested.
Turkish media said some 36 generals had been arrested so far.
On Sunday, 11 soldiers were also arrested at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport over alleged links to the coup.
Meanwhile, a top security official said on Monday that some senior military officials involved in the coup attempt have fled the country.
Also on Monday, Turkey dismissed 8,000 police officers in several cities across the country, including Istanbul and the capital, Ankara, over their alleged links with the failed coup attempt, a senior security official said, presstv reported.
The attempted coup began on Friday night and the violence and fighting between the putschists and government loyalists dragged into Saturday, when the coup was largely defeated.
A total of 290 people were killed in the attempted coup d’état in Turkey.