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Tuesday Oct 13 2020
By
Reuters
,
Web Desk

Turkey hands detention warrants to 110 over suspected Gulen links: media

By
Reuters
,
Web Desk
Soldiers stand near a Turkish flag in Istanbul in May 2017. Photojournalist Çağdaş Erdoğan is charged with terrorism for taking a photo of a National Intelligence Building. — AFP/Gurcan Ozturk

In a move against supporters of a Muslim preacher the Turkish government accuses of organising a failed coup in 2016, the authorities on Tuesday issued detention warrants for 110 people, most of them active-duty soldiers, a state broadcaster reported.

The operation was the latest in a four-year-old crackdown targeting the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. He denies involvement in the July 2016 putsch, in which some 250 people were killed.

Authorities launched the operation from the coastal province of Izmir and sought suspects across a total of 26 provinces, broadcaster TRT Haber said. No further details were available.

Read more: PM Imran reaffirms Pakistan's support for Turkey against FETO threat

Since the abortive putsch, some 80,000 people have been held pending trial and about 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others sacked or suspended. More than 20,000 people had been expelled from the Turkish military.

Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have criticised the scale of the crackdown, saying the government was using it as a pretext to quash dissent.

The government has denied the accusation, saying the measures are necessary for national security.

On July 15, 2016, two hundred and forty-nine people, not including the plotters, were killed when a disgruntled faction in the army sent tanks into the streets and warplanes into the sky in a bid to overthrow Erdogan after one-and-a-half decades in power.

But they were thwarted within hours as the authorities regrouped and people poured into the streets in support of Erdogan, who blamed followers of his ally turned nemesis, the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen.

The authorities embarked on the biggest purge in Turkey's history, arresting 50,000 people and sacking over 100,000 more. Erdogan also shored up his position by winning a referendum on enhancing his powers earlier in 2017.