As part of a post-coup attempt witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement, 820 members of the military have been dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces, the Defense Ministry said in a written statement on Thursday.
According to statement the 820 dismissed military personnel from the land and naval forces do not include generals but only lower-ranking and noncommissioned officers. A total of 648 of the dismissed military members are currently under arrest.
The number of dismissed personnel including generals and admirals since the failed coup attempt has reached 4,451. The government has also closed all military academies in Turkey due to alleged involvement in the coup attempt on July 15.
Only a few hours after the coup attempt, Erdoğan said publicly on TV that it was a “great gift from God” as it would allow him “cleanse” the army.
Immediately after the putsch, the government along with Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement without credible evidence. Despite the fact that the movement as well as Gülen denied the accusation, some 82,000 people have been purged from state bodies, over 40,000 detained and more than 20,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, businessmen, academics, governors and even a comedian.
A report drafted in the wake of foiled coup of July 15 by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), states that President Erdoğan has used the coup as an opportunity to purge a wide swath of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) leadership.
The ISW report states that Erdoğan’s purge centralizes his authority, removes internal resistance and takes control of the training programs for young military officers in order to retain control of the TSK’s future.