SIRINKOY , Turkey, Aug. 1 (UPI) — Two more soldiers involved in a kidnap or assassination plot last month against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were captured, Turkish officials said.
A total of eleven soldiers suspected in the plot were recently seized in a forest 30 miles from the Marmaris seaside resort where Erdogran was vacationing when a coup attempt, prompted by the military, began on July 15. The planned attack on Ergodan’s home in Marmaris was part of a coordinated attack which included Istanbul and Ankara, the capital. Erdogan fled his villa before the attack.
The failed coup attempt left 271 people dead, including 170 civilians and 34 who plotted to overthrow the government. Sixty-two police officers and five soldiers loyal to the government were among the dead, updated government statistics said, and nearly 2,200 injuries were reported. More than 18,000 people, mostly members of the military and including about one-third of the country’s generals and admirals, have been arrested. About 50,000 people have lost their jobs, largely in government and academia, on suspicion of being followers or former students of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim imam whom Ergodan blames for the coup attempt.
The 11 soldiers suspected of attempting to kidnap Erdogan were found in Sirinkoy Village in the Ula District of Mugla province in Turkey’s southwestern Anatolia region. More than 20 more soldiers, believed to be a part of the plot against Erdogan, were previously captured. On the night of the start of the coup, a live broadcast by Erdogan on national television told of escaping, by 15 minutes, the bombing of his residence.
The arrests Monday came on the day Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is scheduled to meet with Gen. John Dunford, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. The two are expected to discuss Turkey’s demand that Gulen be extradited from the United States. The meeting comes as Washington is concerned about the Turkish military’s structural integrity: Since the coup, control of the military has been transferred to civilian authority and numerous military academies have been closed.