A top Turkish official has warned that rebel soldiers and military personnel at large since the July 15 failed coup attempt in Turkey could carry out acts of terror against the state.
“They and their collaborators may engage in lone wolf attacks and assassinations. They would turn to cyber attacks,” Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said in reference to the fugitive rebel soldiers.
“We need to stay alert from now on. All state institutions and departments are on alert. It is important to exercise caution in the face all forms of potential threats,” he added, speaking to Haberturk television on Tuesday.
On the night of July 15, a faction of the Turkish military declared itself in charge of the country. Tanks and helicopters were used by the rebel faction to fight government loyalists on the streets of the capital, Ankara, and the city of Istanbul.
The coup attempt was suppressed as people turned out on the streets to support the incumbent government.
Turkish authorities have dismissed or detained tens of thousands of people from the military, judiciary, civil services and education in the aftermath of the botched putsch.
Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Tuesday that around 16,000 people have been remanded in custody and are awaiting trial. Another 6,000 people are in detention and await initial court hearings.
Turkey recently sacked 1,389 members of the military personnel, including senior commanders, on suspicion of affiliation to the network of US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the coup bid.
The dismissals followed a previous post-putsch expulsion of 1,684 military personnel, including 149 generals and admirals.
At least 246 people were killed and more than 2,100 others sustained injuries in the coup attempt.
Gulen has condemned the coup attempt and denied any involvement in the violence.