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Turkey issues arrest warrants for 243 military personnel

Turkish police have conducted mass raids in 54 provinces across the country. The suspects have been accused of using an encrypted messaging application authorities say was used by coup plotters.

Six months and some 40,000 official arrests after July's foiled coup attempt, Turkish authorities on Wednesday conducted mass raids against army personnel believed to have been involved in the military's bid to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Following the raids, Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency reported that prosecutors had issued arrest warrants against 243 military personnel.

They suspects are accused of using the encrypted smartphone messaging application, Bylock, which authorities say was used by the network of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based Islamic cleric Ankara accuses of orchestrating July's coup attempt.

As part of Erdogan's purge against opposition forces following the foiled coup, about 100,000 civil servants have been fired or suspended from their posts. Academics and teachers have also lost their jobs, while leading media have been shut down.

Turkey's parliament on Friday approved a series of constitutional amendments in a first parliamentary vote effectively, expanding Erdogan's executive powers. The bill requires two more votes in parliament, with at least 330 parliamentarians voting in favor, before it heads to a national referendum.

dm/rt (Reuters, dpa)

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