ISTANBUL — Dozens of special forces personnel were reportedly arrested in Turkey on Saturday, the latest development in a sweeping crackdown following last month’s failed coup in the country that killed more than 270 people.
Nearly 90 staff members were arrested after being identified by a commission established by the Special Forces Command in the wake of the July 15 overthrow attempt, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.
The crackdown targets suspected followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara accuses of masterminding the coup attempt. Tens of thousands of employees in the military, police force, judiciary and throughout the public sector have been dismissed, detained or arrested since forces loyal to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan put down the revolt.
Turkey has also been reforming its security apparatus, with the military being brought firmly under civilian authority in a series of governmental decrees following the declaration of a state of emergency.
Earlier Saturday, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim hosted a security summit of high-level government and military officials in Ankara. Those attending included the ministers of foreign affairs, justice, interior and defense, the chief of general staff and the heads of Turkey’s national intelligence agency and national police. No decisions were announced after the meeting.
As part of its anti-coup campaign, Ankara has been encouraging nightly pro-government rallies throughout the country, with officials preparing for a grand finale in Istanbul on Sunday.
The “Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally” is meant to represent the unity of the country, with Erdogan urging attendees to bring only the Turkish flag instead of party banners.
“There we will stand together as a single nation, a single flag, a single motherland, a single state, a single spirit,” he said.
The event will be attended by the highest levels of Turkish leadership and two of Turkey’s three opposition parties. The pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, or HDP, was not invited.