Turkey coup attempt: Nearly 82,000 sacked or suspended

A giant portrait of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a rally in Istanbul, 7 August Image copyright AP
Image caption President Erdogan has been accused of going too far in seeking to reassert his authority

Some 5,000 state employees have been sacked and 77,000 suspended in the purge since last month's failed coup in Turkey, the prime minister says.

Binali Yildirim told reporters in Ankara that more than 3,000 of those sacked were members of the military.

They are suspected of links to exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, he said.

Announcing a visit to Turkey by US Vice-President Joe Biden, he again urged the US to extradite Mr Gulen.

The cleric, a former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, from where he runs a worldwide network of charities and schools.

He denies any knowledge of or involvement in Turkey's first coup attempt since 1997, which left 270 people dead.

'Communication network'

"The main element improving our relations with the US is the extradition of Gulen, where there is no room for negotiation," Mr Yildirim was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

"Whether or not the anti-Americanism in Turkey will continue is also dependant on this."

According to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, the Turkish prime minister added that the US stance on extradition was "getting better".

He said that since the coup attempt on 15-16 July, 76,597 civil servants had been suspended over links to the coup attempt, and 4,897 had been dismissed from their posts, bringing the total number to 81,974.

The coup plotters, he said, had their own "communication network of 50,000 people".

Mr Yildirim said Mr Biden would visit Turkey on 24 August.

In another development, reported by Reuters, the Istanbul chief prosecutor's office sent a letter to the US authorities asking for the detention of Mr Gulen.