World

Turkey purges 1,700 officers from the military after failed coup

Turkey's state run news agency says close to 1,700 officers have been formally discharged from the military following the country's failed coup. A Canadian man, meanwhile, remains among those detained.

Dozens of newspapers and TV stations shuttered in crackdown on dissidents

Turkish soldiers detain Staff Sgt. Erkan Cikat, one of the missing military personnel suspected of being involved in the coup attempt, in Marmaris, Turkey, July 25. Turkey has expelled 1,700 officers from the military, the state-run news agency says. (Kenan Gurbuz/Reuters)

Turkey's state run news agency says close to 1,700 officers have been formally discharged from the military following the country's failed coup.

Anadolu Agency also says the government has decided to close down dozens of media organizations, including 45 newspapers and 16 television stations.

The government says a U.S.-based Muslim cleric is behind the failed uprising by a faction within the military that led to some 290 deaths on July 15. 

Thousands have been detained for suspected links to the coup, including Calgary's Davud Hanci, an imam for the Correctional Service Canada and the Alberta correctional services who went to Turkey with his family on July 7 to visit his ailing father.

Selman Durmus says his brother-in-law Davud Hanci is innocent of the accusations against him 5:39

Hanci was detained and accused of working for U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey alleges orchestrated the failed July 15 military coup. Gulen has repeatedly denied the claims.

Hanci's friends and family say he is innocent and they fear for his safety.

Tens of thousands in Turkey have also been purged from state institutions.

Media crackdown

Earlier, authorities issued warrants for the detention of 47 former executives or senior journalists of Turkey's Zaman newspaper for alleged links to Gulen. Such detentions have raised concerns that people could be targeted simply for criticizing the government.

The media watchdog Reporters Without Borders condemned Turkey's purges of journalists, saying they have assumed "increasingly alarming proportions."

"Criticizing the government and working for media outlets that support the Gulen Movement do not constitute evidence of involvement in the failed coup," said Johann Bihr, who heads the organization's Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.

Turkey's Justice Ministry denied an Amnesty International report alleging that some of those detained were tortured. Correct arrest and custody procedures were being applied under a three-month state of emergency announced last week, it said.

Reflecting tension with allies, Turkey has complained of a lack of strong support from European nations and the United States for the government's sweeping efforts to weed out suspected plotters and Gulen's supporters.

"Until now, we have not received the backing and the statements that we, the whole of Turkey, expect from these countries," said Energy Minister Berat Albayrak, who is also Erdogan's son-in-law.

With files from CBC News