EU foreign ministers warn Turkey to obey rule of law

The call comes in the wake of a failed military coup in the country last week

EU foreign ministers warn Turkey to obey rule of law

People wave Turkish flags as they gather at a pro-government rally in central Istanbul's Taksim square | Via: Emrah Gurel / AP/Press Association Images

European politicians have called on Turkey to respect the rule of law and human rights amid a purge of state institutions in the aftermath of last week's failed military coup.

6,000 people have been arrested in connection with the events so far, including several senior military commanders, rank-and-file soldiers and thousands of judges.

Talking to reporters on the way into a meeting of Foreign Ministers, the EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini warned the Turkish government against taking steps that would damage the constitutional order.

"[The] rule of law has to be protected in the country," she said. "There is no excuse for any step that takes the country away from that."

She added: "The democratic and legitimate institutions needed to be protected.

"Today, we will say together with the ministers that this obviously doesn't mean that the rule of law and the system of checks and balances does not count.

"On the contrary, it needs to be protected for the sake of the country itself. So we will send a strong message."

The meeting will also be attended by the US Secretary of State John Kerry and talks are also expected to focus on the fight against terrorism in Europe in the wake of the attack in Nice.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning Channel 4's Jonathan Rugman said there is a "witch-hunt" atmosphere in Turkey at the moment and he believes journalists may be detained in the coming days.

“The President is turning a crisis to his advantage and gaining as much power as he can,” he explained.

“He’ll do what he tried to do in the past, which is to become an executive president and to have more power than any president has had since the first president of the republic in the 1920s.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech in Istanbul | Image: STR / AP/Press Association Images

F-16 fighter jets have been patrolling the airspace over Istanbul and Ankara following the failed coup attempt, according to a source in the President Erdogan's office.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also reportedly given his country's air force orders to shoot down any military helicopters taking off from Istanbul.

A total of 8,777 public officials, also including 30 governors and more than 50 high-ranking civil servants have been removed from their posts, while 103 generals and admirals are among those arrested, according to Turkish media.

At least 290 people have been killed and more than 1,400 wounded since coup plotters ordered tanks into major cities and sent fighter jets to fire on key government installations.

The rebellion was put down by local government forces and masses of civilians who took to the streets.

Additional reporting by IRN