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By Ece Toksabay and Can Sezer ANKARA/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey's top brass and political leaders were poised to launch a major overhaul of the armed forces on Thursday after a failed military coup that has shaken the nation of nearly 80 million people and alarmed its NATO allies. Hours before the Supreme Military Council began its annual meeting in Ankara, the armed forces dishonorably discharged nearly 1,700 personnel for their alleged role in the July 15-16 putsch in which a faction of the armed forces tried to topple President Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan, who narrowly escaped capture and possible death on the night of the coup, told Reuters in an interview last week that the military, NATO'S second biggest, needed "fresh blood".
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday rebuffed calls to reverse her welcoming stance toward refugees in the wake of a series of brutal attacks in the country. Merkel, who interrupted a summer holiday to face the media in Berlin, said the four assaults within a week were "shocking, oppressive and depressing" but not a sign that authorities had lost control.