Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson today called on the Turkish government to show “restraint” as the country’s government cemented its power after the failed coup.
Almost 2,000 special forces officers poured into Istanbul and took up positions at buildings critical to maintaining President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s supremacy and F-16 fighter jets were ordered to patrol Turkish airspace.
It emerged today that 6,000 people had been arrested after the failed attempt to overthrow Mr Erdogan, including 29 top members of the military and several judges.
Mr Johnson said: “On Turkey, it is very important in light of the failed coup that we see restraint and moderation on all sides, and that is what I will be calling for.”
At a meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders said Turkish authorities’ reaction to the failed coup needs to be “proportionate”. He said he was alarmed by the arrests of judges and calls for reinstatement of the death penalty.
Some 1,800 special forces police officers arrived in Istanbul today, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. They were reported to have taken up positions in key locations, government installations and on patrol in the city. Istanbul police chief Mustafa Caliskan is also said to have ordered the shooting down without warning of any helicopters flying overhead.
At least 294 people were killed and more than 1,400 wounded when tanks rolled into major cities during the attempted rebellion on Friday. It was quashed by government forces and civilians who took to the streets.
Erdogan suggested last night that Turkey might reinstate capital punishment, abolished in 2004 as part of the bid to join the European Union.
Speaking to a crowd, he responded to chants of “we want the death penalty”, by saying: “We hear your request. In a democracy, whatever the people want they will get.”
Flights to the UK from Turkey have begun to return to normal schedules.
The Foreign Office said in its travel advice that the situation was “calming”, but could still be “volatile”.
It advised tourists to avoid public places, especially demonstrations, in Ankara and Istanbul, and to follow the advice of authorities.
President Erdogan has called on the US to extradite Fethullah Gülen, 75, who heads the Hizmet movement. He has denied involvement in the coup.
Secretary of State John Kerry said that Turkey should “present us with any legitimate evidence that withstands scrutiny”.