Turkey Expels 73 More Armed Forces Personnel as Part of Post-coup Purge

Dismissal is said to be part of a crackdown on the military following the failed July 15 coup, of which authorities accuse U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey, August 18, 2016.

AP - Turkey says it has expelled 73 more personnel from its armed forces as part of an ongoing effort to rid the military of what it says are followers of the alleged mastermind of the failed July 15 coup.

The Turkish Ministry of Defense said on its official Twitter account Wednesday that the expelled personnel belonged to the air force.

It said the dismissals have strengthened the military "as it gets rid of traitor FETO," a reference to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of being behind the coup attempt. Gulen denies this.

Turkish Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pa. March 15, 2014

The announcement comes after last week's dismissal of 820 military personnel, of whom 648 were jailed.

It's estimated that more than 5,000 military personnel have so far been discharged since the coup, including 151 generals and admirals.