NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said that a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15 has created gaps in the alliance since Turkey sacked thousands of military officers over alleged involvement in the putsch.
“There have been changes [by Turkey] among the Turkish military at NATO headquarters. I have no doubt that Turkey will continue to send military personnel to NATO. We are in close dialogue with Turkey on this subject,” Stoltenberg said.
At the end of September Turkey ordered 41 military officers out of 50 who were working at NATO headquarters in Brussels to return home.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others.
While more than a thousand soldiers were arrested following the coup attempt, over 4,618 military personnel including 151 generals and admirals have been dismissed from their posts over links to the Gülen movement, on which Turkey’s ruling party and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan immediately pinned the blame for the failed coup.
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
More than 100,000 people have been purged from state bodies, nearly 43,000 detained and 32,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.
Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.