Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed followers of a US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen for playing a role in a series of bomb attacks in eastern Turkey, which Ankara blames the Kurdistan Workers Party, PKK. In a speech broadcasted live on television, Erdogan said Turkey was facing joint attacks by various “terrorist organizations” who act together. He said that Gulen’s followers were complicit in attacks yesterday by the Kurdish militants that killed seven members of the Turkish security forces and wounded some 224 people in the southeast. ; “Turkey is facing joint attacks by various terrorist organizations who act with the same motive and who have close relations with each other even though they have different names. Terrorist organization FETO (Fethullah Gulen’s organization) attacked our people on July 15. When this treacherous organization failed, the others took over the job,” said Erdogan.
Turkey released prisoners before the end of their custodial sentences as part of penal reform, freeing some 38,000 inmates to make space for thousands of suspects rounded up over last months’ failed coup. The reform was one of a series of measures outlined in two decrees under a state of emergency declared after the July 15 coup attempt. “I had one more year to go. It was a surprise for me. I am still very surprised,” said Emin Yalcinaslan, Released Prisoner. “Thanks to this new law I was released two and a half years before I was due to get my freedom… They said you were released because of this new law so we happily packed up and got out,” said Mehmet Sayit Sulger, Released Prisoner. In the crackdown since the failed coup, more than 76,000 civil servants, judges and security force members have been suspended and nearly 5,000 dismissed.