ANKARA, Turkey – The Latest on the situation in Turkey after the failed military coup last week (all times local):
The state-run Anadolu news agency reports that Turkey has halted all foreign assignments for academics until further notice.
The Board of Higher Education issued the directive on Wednesday. It states that there will be no new assignments until further notice and that academics currently abroad on assignment will be recalled unless they are obligated to remain there.
A day earlier, the board demanded the resignations of 1,577 university deans, suggesting they may have had ties to the plotters behind Turkey's failed military coup last week, which Turkey's government has blamed on a U.S.-based cleric. The Ministry of Education also fired 15,200 teachers on Tuesday for the same reason.
The cleric, Fethullah Gulen, has denied all knowledge of the coup — and has suggested that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government could have staged the coup as a way of consolidating power and eliminating government opponents.
Days after a failed coup attempt in Turkey, the country's jets carried out cross-border strikes against Kurdish rebel targets in northern Iraq, killing some 20 alleged militants, state media reported Wednesday.
F-16 jets pounded targets belonging to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, in Iraq's Hakurk region, Anadolu Agency reported. The Turkish military has been regularly hitting suspected PKK hideouts and position in Iraq since last year, but Wednesday's strikes were the first since the July 15 botched takeover attempt by a faction within the armed forces, in which several F-16 pilots were involved.
Authorities have rounded up close to 9,000 people — including 115 generals, 350 officers and some 4,800 other military personnel — for alleged involvement in the coup attempt.
In addition, tens of thousands of civil service employees, including teachers and police, have also been fired, accused of ties to the plot or suspected of links to a U.S.-based cleric whom authorities accuse of being the behind the plot.
Turkey's military coup has led to public anger and calls for the government to reinstate capital punishment.
The state-run religious affairs body has also declared that no religious rites would be performed for the coup plotters killed in the uprising.
Capital punishment was abolished in 2004 as part of Turkey's bid to join the European Union, and several European officials have said its reinstatement would be the end of Turkey's attempts to join.
Officials on Wednesday raised the death toll from the violence surrounding the coup attempt to 240 government supporters. At least 24 coup plotters were also killed.
Turkey is demanding that Washington extradite Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has been in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since the late 1990s and who the government has long accused of being behind a "parallel terrorist organization."
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the issue in a phone call Tuesday with U.S. President Barack Obama, and his spokesman said the government was preparing a formal extradition request for Gulen.
Gulen has strongly denied the government's charges, suggesting the attempted military coup in Turkey could have been staged as a pretext for the Erdogan government to seize even more power.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest says Turkey had submitted materials related to Gulen and the administration was reviewing whether they amounted to a formal extradition request. Earnest added that a decision on whether to extradite would be made under a longstanding treaty between the two countries.