Europe

Turkey coup attempt: Detentions 'tip of the iceberg'

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThere may be more arrests to come, says Turkey's deputy prime minister

Turkey's deputy prime minister has described as "the tip of the iceberg" the infiltration of state institutions by the group the government blames for last Friday's failed coup.

Nurettin Canikli told the BBC that the number of arrests could grow.

At least 60,000 state employees have been detained or suspended in an internationally criticised purge.

But Mr Canikli criticised Turkey's allies for "only half-heartedly" condemning the "coup-makers".

The government accuses those loyal to the US-based exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the coup. Mr Gulen has denied any involvement.

"For 40 years this terror organisation has infiltrated the furthest corners of the country - ministries, all institutions and the private sector," Mr Canikli said.

"It's not just the judiciary, courts, the police, the military. It includes education. And in fact, education is the field that they have entered best," he said.

Education ministry officials, private school teachers and university heads of faculty together account for more than half the people targeted in the crackdown.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Soldiers have been seen patrolling Turkish cities since the coup attempt

On Wednesday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a state of emergency for three months following the coup.

The state of emergency allows the president and cabinet to bypass parliament when drafting new laws and to restrict or suspend rights and freedoms.

The move has drawn criticism from leaders in France and Germany, as well as from top EU officials. Turkey has applied to join the bloc, but talks over its membership have been making very slow progress.

Mr Canikli defended the post-coup measures, saying they were only targeting people who had been "100% identified".

He described the "terrorist" group behind the coup as a greater threat to Turkey than the so-called Islamic State militants or the Kurdish militant group, PKK.

Members of the group, he said, had "practically had their brains removed".

"They've been hypnotised. They're like robots. Each one of them is a potential threat. They could commit all sorts of attacks, including suicide bombs."

Critics of Mr Erdogan have accused him of consolidating power on a scale largely unprecedented since Turkey's first democratic elections in 1946 and of using the state of emergency to acquire more power for the presidency.