Turkey shuts down military schools, frees 62 detained cadets

Turkey shuts down military schools, frees 62 detained cadets
All military academies in Turkey will close down, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Saturday after authorities released 62 cadets, mostly teenagers, jailed over the attempted coup.
2 min read
30 July, 2016
Erdogan announced a series of changes aimed at bringing the military under civilian control [Anadolu]
Turkey's military academies will shut down and be replaced by a national defence university, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Saturday.

The announcement came after authorities freed 62 cadets from an Istanbul military academy jailed over the attempted coup.

During an interview with broadcaster A Haber, Erdogan also announced that military commanders are to report to the defence minister.

The move aims to bring the military under civilian control in Turkey, which has seen a large-scale purge after the attempted coup against Erdogan.

Cadets from the Kuleli military high school, which will now be shut down, were released Saturday after being caught up in the coup attempt.

The students walked out of the gates of the prison in Maltepe on the Asian side of Istanbul to an emotional reunion with crying relatives who had been waiting, private Dogan news agency reported.

A further 758 soldiers were also released on Friday, state-run Anadolu news agency said, in addition to another 3,500 suspects already set free.

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Their release followed recommendations from prosecutors after hearing their testimonies, Anadolu reported, adding that 231 soldiers remained in detention.

The case of the cadets had amplified concerns that many of the thousands of soldiers detained nationwide over complicity in the coup may have only been following orders and had no idea a putsch was in progress.

Nearly half of Turkey's military generals and admirals have been dismissed and more than 18,000 people detained over the failed coup, which has been blamed on the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

Gulen, who lives in the US and runs a global network of schools and foundations, has denied any knowledge of the coup attempt.

Nearly 70,000 people were also suspended from their jobs within state institutions, in sectors including education, health care, city government and even with the Turkish Airlines.

Agencies contributed to this report.