Turkey PM Says 161 Dead in Coup Bid, Almost 3,000 Held

Cnlav-hXYAYz9zDTurkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Saturday 161 people were killed in the coup attempt against the government, with 2,839 soldiers now detained on suspicion of involvement.

Yıldırım, speaking outside his Çankaya palace in Ankara and flanked by top general Hulusi Akar who was held during the coup attempt, also described the putsch bid as a “black stain” on Turkish democracy. He added that 1,440 people had been wounded.

The toll 161 did not include the assailants, he emphasised. Turkey’s acting army chief Umit Dündar had earlier said 104 putschists had been killed.

Yıldrım blamed the coup attempt on the supporters of US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara has for years accused of working to overthrow the authorities and wants to see brought to justice.

The United States has shown little interest so far to Turkey’s requests for his extradition.

“Fethullah Gülen is the leader of a terrorist organisation,” the premier said.

“Whichever country is behind him is not a friend of Turkey and in a serious war against Turkey,” he added.