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Mass arrests are necessary, advisor to Turkey's president says

Turkey's roundup of thousands of people after Friday night's failed coup is necessary to restore security to the country, a senior advisor and counsel to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Monday.

"The country's just had a coup — a violent coup. A coup where tanks literally trammeled over civilians. There were hundreds of deaths, hundreds of injuries," Robert Amsterdam said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch."

The broad crackdown by Turkey and its calls to reinstate the death penalty for plotters drew concern from Western allies who said the government must uphold the rule of law in the country, a NATO member that is one of Washington's most powerful Muslim allies.

Some voiced concern Erdogan was using the opportunity to consolidate his power and further a process of stifling dissent which has already caused tensions with Europe.

People gather for celebration around Turkish police officers, loyal to the government, standing atop tanks abandoned by Turkish army officers, against a backdrop of Istanbul's iconic Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul, July 16, 2016, Turkey.
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People gather for celebration around Turkish police officers, loyal to the government, standing atop tanks abandoned by Turkish army officers, against a backdrop of Istanbul's iconic Bosporus Bridge in Istanbul, July 16, 2016, Turkey.

However, Amsterdam said it's important to note that this was the sixth attempt to overthrow the government of Turkey.

"I'll tell you from having to survive a coup in Thailand that what happens to a country after those coups is far worse than rounding up people, interrogating them and trying to figure out what happened and trying to avoid the next anti-democratic coup," he said.

Wesley Clark, former NATO supreme allied commander, said it is important that Erdogan not seek personal vengeance but follow the rule of law to sustain the democratic government in Turkey.

"We are doing everything we can to persuade Erdogan not to continue to centralize power," he told "Power Lunch."

"Ultimately it's … Turkey's choice and if that's what their people want, the United States is not going to be able to stand in the way of that."

Earlier Monday, Adm. James Stavridis, former supreme allied commander of NATO, told "Squawk Box" noted that among those incarcerated were 200 generals and admirals — which is 60 percent of the entire flag officer corps of Turkey.

"I think it is obviously going too far," he said.

Amsterdam said the U.S. needs to look at whether it is in a position to judge what's happening in Turkey.

"In Turkey, no one is running around, running for office trying to ban Christians from entering the country," he said, in a reference to Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the U.S.

— Reuters contributed to this report.