The Latest: Amnesty International protests Turkish crackdown

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — The Latest on the situation in Turkey after the failed military coup last week (all times local):

3:55 p.m.

Amnesty International says authorities in Turkey are conducting a crackdown of exceptional proportions following the failed coup attempt over the weekend.

Besides tens of thousands of public servants and teachers being dismissed, Amnesty said Wednesday the crackdown has extended to censoring media and journalists, including those critical of the government. It says authorities have blocked access to more than 20 news websites, canceled press cards for 34 journalists, and issued an arrest warrant for one journalist for her coverage of the coup.

The London-based organization also says there are local reports that the licenses of 25 media houses were revoked.

Amnesty called on authorities to protect press freedoms while they investigate the failed coup.


2:50 p.m.

Turkish media says the government is expanding its purge of suspected coup backers and has begun to revoke the licenses of 21,000 teachers at private schools.

The state-run Anadolu news agency reported the teachers are believed to have ties to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the government has accused of being behind the failed military coup last week. Gulen has strongly denied the accusations.

Turkey has already announced the firing of 15,200 teachers at state institutions, demanded the resignations of 1,577 university deans and halted all foreign assignments for state-employed academics. In addition, thousands of other state employees have been fired in half a dozen agencies, all accused of being Gulen followers.


2:20 p.m.

Turkey’s state-run media says two Turkish military officers detained for alleged involvement in the thwarted coup have fled from a military hospital in Istanbul where they were being treated.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported the infantry captain and a lieutenant are suspected followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has been blamed for the failed uprising by some military units. Gulen has denied all involvement.

The agency did not specify what kind of treatment the officers were receiving at the Gulhane Military Medical Academy.

Turkish police are warning the two officers may be armed and have distributed their photos in hopes they can be captured.


1:55 p.m.

Turkey’s National Security Council is holding an emergency meeting following a coup attempt last week that was derailed by security forces and protesters loyal to the government.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was heading the meeting Wednesday of the council, which is the highest advisory body on security issues. Erdogan has previously said an “important decision” would be announced after the meeting.

The government has detained over 9,000 people and fired tens of thousands of teachers, police and university professors, accusing them of having links to the U.S.-based cleric it blames for Turkey’s failed military coup. The cleric has denied any involvement in the attempted coup.


1:45 p.m.

Access to the Wikileaks website in Turkey has been blocked after the group announced, following a failed coup by Turkish military units, that it would release a trove of documents on the country’s power structure.

There was no immediate statement Wednesday from Turkey’s Telecommunications Board, a government agency that regulates access to websites.

The Turkish government has previously banned access to websites deemed to be carrying material critical of Turkey, including YouTube and Twitter. Some opposition media websites were blocked following Friday night’s coup attempt, which was quashed by security forces loyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Wikileaks said on Twitter that Turks who are blocked from accessing its website can “use a proxy or any of our IPs” to get access to the documents on Turkey’s ruling party


1:25 p.m.

The state-run Anadolu news agency reports that Turkey has halted all foreign assignments for academics until further notice.

The Board of Higher Education issued the directive on Wednesday. It states that there will be no new assignments until further notice and that academics currently abroad on assignment will be recalled unless they are obligated to remain there.

A day earlier, the board demanded the resignations of 1,577 university deans, suggesting they may have had ties to the plotters behind Turkey’s failed military coup last week, which Turkey’s government has blamed on a U.S.-based cleric. The Ministry of Education also fired 15,200 teachers on Tuesday for the same reason.

The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, has denied all knowledge of the coup — and has suggested that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government could have staged the coup as a way of consolidating power and eliminating government opponents.


11:30 a.m.

Days after a failed coup attempt in Turkey, the country’s jets carried out cross-border strikes against Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq, killing some 20 alleged militants, state media reported Wednesday.

F-16 jets pounded targets belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, in Iraq’s Hakurk region, Anadolu Agency reported. The Turkish military has been regularly hitting suspected PKK hideouts and position in Iraq since last year, but Wednesday’s strikes were the first since the July 15 botched takeover attempt by a faction within the armed forces, in which several F-16 pilots were involved.

Authorities have rounded up close to 9,000 people — including 115 generals, 350 officers and some 4,800 other military personnel — for alleged involvement in the coup attempt.

In addition, tens of thousands of civil service employees, including teachers and police, have also been fired, accused of ties to the plot or suspected of links to a U.S.-based cleric whom authorities accuse of being the behind the plot.


9:20 a.m.

Turkey’s military coup has led to public anger and calls for the government to reinstate capital punishment.

The state-run religious affairs body has also declared that no religious rites would be performed for the coup plotters killed in the uprising.

Capital punishment was abolished in 2004 as part of Turkey’s bid to join the European Union, and several European officials have said its reinstatement would be the end of Turkey’s attempts to join.

Officials on Wednesday raised the death toll from the violence surrounding the coup attempt to 240 government supporters. At least 24 coup plotters were also killed.


9:10 a.m.

Turkey is demanding that Washington extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has been in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since the late 1990s and who the government has long accused of being behind a “parallel terrorist organization.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the issue in a phone call Tuesday with U.S. President Barack Obama, and his spokesman said the government was preparing a formal extradition request for Gulen.

Gulen has strongly denied the government’s charges, suggesting the attempted military coup in Turkey could have been staged as a pretext for the Erdogan government to seize even more power.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says Turkey had submitted materials related to Gulen and the administration was reviewing whether they amounted to a formal extradition request. Earnest added that a decision on whether to extradite would be made under a longstanding treaty between the two countries.