Gen. Hulusi Akar, chief of the general staff, was speaking at a Democracy and Martyrs’ Rally in Istanbul’s Yenikapi district to mark the defeat of the coup bid

Referring to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) that has been accused of planning the takeover, Akar said there was “no doubt the heaviest penalty would be imposed on the blood-shedders of FETO”.

Akar, who was held hostage by pro-coup soldiers during the attempt, added that the “betrayers were challenged and defeated as they deserved in the squares”.

It is extremely rare for a senior Turkish military figure to address a public gathering.

Turkey has repeatedly said the coup was organized by followers of preacher Fetullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. since 1999.

Anadolu Agency