The chief of Europe's top human rights body says Turkey must stick to the rule of law and human rights principles when prosecuting those it accuses of involvement in July's failed coup to buttress its reputation as a nation that has reconciled democracy with Islam.

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland told The Associated Press on Friday that enabling the thousands in Turkey who have been arrested or dismissed from government jobs to have their day in court would benefit both Europe and the region. It would also send a strong message to those who commit "terrorism in the name of Islam."

Jagland said Turkey must ensure that judicial safeguards are in place for those in custody and that evidence gathered against them is justified.