Erdogan Vows to 'Cleanse' Turkish Military of 'Viruses'
3-month state of emergency declared
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 21, 2016 12:03 AM CDT
Relatives and friends of detained soldiers accused of participating in the July 15 attempted coup stand outside the gates of the Istanbul courthouse waiting for news of their loved ones.   (AP Photo/Bram Janssen)
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(Newser) – Turkey's president has declared a three-month state of emergency following a botched coup attempt, saying he would rid the military of the "virus" of subversion and giving the government sweeping powers to expand a crackdown that has already included mass arrests and the closure of hundreds of schools. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was accused of autocratic conduct before the insurrection, said the measure would counter threats to Turkish democracy. The president didn't announce details, but the security measure could facilitate longer detentions for many of the nearly 10,000 people who've been rounded up since loyalist security forces and protesters quashed the rebellion that started Friday night and was over by Saturday, the AP reports.

"This measure is in no way against democracy, the law, and freedoms," Erdogan said of the state of emergency in a national televised address after a meeting with Cabinet ministers and security advisers. The president suggested military purges would continue. "As the commander in chief, I will also attend to it so that all the viruses within the armed forces will be cleansed," Erdogan said. Erdogan's government says it has also fired nearly 22,000 education ministry workers, mostly teachers, taken steps to revoke the licenses of 21,000 other teachers at private schools, and sacked or detained half a dozen university presidents in a campaign to root out alleged supporters of a US-based Muslim cleric blamed for the failed insurrection. (More on that cleric here.)