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Turkey orders the arrest of hundreds of military

December 8, 2020

Turkey has ordered that 304 military personnel be arrested over alleged links to a group blamed for a 2016 coup bid. Tens of thousands of people have been detained on similar grounds since the coup attempt.

Turkish soldiers marching
Members of the Turkish military are facing arrest over alleged links to Fethullah GulenImage: picture-alliance/AA

Turkey has ordered the detention of 304 members of the military suspected of having links to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, state-run media reported on Tuesday.

Ankara claims that Gulen was behind a 2016 coup attempt in which more than 285 people died. Gulen denies the accusation.

The Adadolu news agency said the operation, led by prosecutors in the western city of Izmir, was spread over 50 provinces. It said the investigation targeted suspects in the army and air force, including five colonels and 10 captains.

Turkish police detained 198 people, including soldiers, in nationwide raids on Tuesday, Anadolu reported.

Fethullah Gülen
Fethullah Gulen denies being behind the 2016 coup bidImage: picture-alliance/dpa/M. Smith

Unceasing crackdown

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested and jailed pending trial since 2016 on alleged suspicion of belonging to Gulen's movement. In addition, more than 100,000 civil servants, among them teachers and police officers, have been sacked or suspended from their jobs for suspected links to the cleric.

Critics of the Turkish government say the crackdown aims to suppress any dissent in the country. Turkish officials say that they are trying only to remove Gulen's influence within state bodies.

tj/dr (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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