Several Turkish navy ships remained missing as of Monday (18 July) night. Their commanders are suspected to be among the coup plotters. Turkish navy commander Admiral Veysel Kosele is also untraceable since the 15-16 July coup attempt by a group of Turkish defence forces.

It is not clear if Kosele was an accomplice of the conspirators who led the coup attempt. Local media reports suggested that the navy chief was tricked by the coup plotters who reportedly took him to the ship saying there was a terrorist attack in the country.

The 14 missing naval vessels were reported to be on active duty on the day of the botched coup. They were either in the Aegean or the Black Sea and have not yet returned to port. The suspicion that these ships could be part of the coup conspiracy stemmed from the fact that they have not yet tried to make contact with naval headquarters or made any attempts to report back to the port. It is suspected that these vessels, which are traceable by radar or satellite, have headed to Greek ports.

Earlier, about eight Turkish military officers were reported to have sought asylum in Greece after fleeing to the country as pro-government forces were arresting the conspirators. Thousands of defence personnel and their bosses have been detained and suspended so far by the government in response to the coup to overthrow the democratically elected government.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a recent interview that the coup plotters even tried to assassinate him at a resort in southwest Turkey where he was staying. Two of his bodyguards were killed in the attack.

A government spokesman was quoted by The Times as saying that the government believes there are sleeper cells "that might try to hijack helicopters or engage in other violent acts against peaceful demonstrators and government buildings".

About 14 Turkish naval ships are reported missing since the Friday night coup attempt by a group of defence forces that was foiled by pro-government forces. Supporters of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan are seen attending a pro-government demonstration at Taksim square in Istanbul Ammar Awad/Reuters