ISTANBUL – Turkey has arrested eleven fugitive soldiers suspected of participation in an attack on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hotel during the night of the failed Ankara coup.

Erdogan was staying in the western seaside resort of Marmaris on July 15 but dashed to Istanbul just before the hotel came under attack by rebel soldiers determined to expel him from power.

According to the deputy prime minister, Numan Kurtulmus, eleven of the fugitive soldiers were “captured in Ula.”

Erdogan earlier said his swift escape had saved him from being defeated or held hostage.

The arrested men, referred to as members of a “death squad” by the Turkish administration, were apprehended during an overnight operation following a tip-off from local villagers, an interior ministry official said.

The soldiers had been hiding in the untamed landscape above Marmaris since the military action.

“There was an exchange of fire during the operation,” the official added. “Drones and helicopters were utilized to pinpoint the location.”

Since the coup, Erdogan has launched a massive purge of Turkish institutions, especially the military, with more than 3,000 armed forces personnel having been dismissed already.