The Turkish President has accused unnamed foreign countries of possible involvement in last week’s attempt to overthrow his Government as its Security Council and Cabinet, meeting in Ankara, announce a state of emergency.
Charges have also been laid against nearly a third of the country’s top military officers following last week’s coup attempt.
Prosecutions thus far involve a large percentage of the country’s 356 top army, air force and navy commanders.
As the high ranking officers were being processed, so too the lower ranks. The ABC saw bus loads of soldiers with their hands tied behind their backs waiting for court appearances.
Some were said to be teenagers from a military high school.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said only a minority of the armed forces were involved in last Friday’s failed military coup, but he said it was not clear exactly how many people had taken part.
“It is clear it was a minority (of the armed forces). The terrorist organisation was trying to make the minority dominate the majority,” Mr Erdogan told the Al Jazeera channel.
He also said he believed foreign countries might have been involved in the failed coup attempt, though he declined to name any.
With thousands of prosecutors and judges sacked its unclear how the accused are being processed.
Speaking through a translator, the spokesman for the country’s judges and prosecutors, Murat Aslan, said the Government is using the coup attempt as an excuse to stamp out dissent.
“We have no reservations that whoever joined or contributed to this should get the necessary punishment within the law,” he said.
“But in periods like this we don’t have the opportunity to separate innocent from guilty. This should be investigated thoroughly.”
Dutch, German and Canadian foreign ministers have expressed concern about the scale of the crackdown by Turkish authorities and called on Turkey to respect the rule of law.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said his Government viewed with concern reports of thousands of people arrested in Turkey, with some prevented from leaving the country.
“We are looking with concern at news … that thousands of people have been dismissed and suspended, including soldiers and judges, and that university professors are now being prevented from leaving the country, that broadcast stations are being closed and having their licenses withdrawn,” Mr Steinmeier said.
“We understand, of course, that there must be a political and judicial processing of this attempted coup, but it must occur in accordance with criteria established by the rule of law.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry was more cautious in his remarks, repeating that Washington supported the Turkish authorities’ efforts to “put down” the coup and condemned any effort to overthrow a democratically-elected government.
Asked whether the Turkish Government’s initial reaction to the coup was excessive, Mr Kerry said: “There is no way for us to know because we don’t know what the evidence is.”
Turkey submits Gulen documentation to US
Mr Kerry said Turkey had submitted material to the US Government on Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric who the Turkish President accuses of orchestrating the coup and wants the US to extradite.
US officials said the State Department and Justice Department were reviewing whether the material sent by Turkey amounted to an official extradition request.
Mr Gulen, a former ally turned critic of Mr Erdogan, has denied any role in the attempted coup and condemned it.
The Secretary of State said he had emphasised to Turkey it should not submit allegations against Mr Gulen, and instead should provide evidence of his apparent involvement in the attempted coup.
Mr Erdogen told French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault “to mind his own business” after Mr Ayrault warned Ankara over the crackdown.
“He should mind his own business. Does he have the authority to make these declarations about my person? No he does not,” he told Al Jazeera.
“If he wants a lesson in democracy he can very easily get a lesson in democracy from us.”
Mr Ayrault had called for maintaining the rule of law in Turkey in the wake of the coup saying “this is not a blank cheque for Mr Erdogan” to silence critics.
European leaders have also been united in their rejection of any plans by Turkey to reinstate the death penalty in response to the coup attempt, saying that such a move would be a deal-breaker for Turkey’s bid to join the European Union.