At least seven people have been arrested by Turkish authorities, suspected of having connections to the self-exiled Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara accuses of being behind the 2016 coup attempt.
The apprehensions made on Friday come after prosecutors in the capital issued arrest warrants for eight suspects, including five active-duty military personnel, as well as one retired and two dismissed sergeants.
The operation, carried out across four of the country’s provinces, forms part of an ongoing inquiry by Ankara into members of the armed forces suspected of supporting Gulen. The Turkish government has branded the Gulen movement the Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO). The latest detainees are accused of communicating with supposed senior FETO members via landline telephones, according to Turkish authorities.
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Turkey arrests 43 people allegedly connected to self-exiled cleric Gulen, who Ankara says masterminded botched 2016 coup
Ankara has blamed Gulen, an ally-turned-critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, of being behind the 2016 power grab attempt that resulted in at least 250 deaths and over 2,000 injuries. The Muslim preacher, who has lived in the US since 1999, has denounced the attempted coup and refuted any accusation of involvement in it.
Friday’s arrests are part of a recent chain of detentions against individuals who, Turkish authorities claim, have connections to the alleged coup organizers. Earlier this week, at least 43 people were taken into custody during raids spanning 40 of Turkey’s provinces.
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Last month, Ankara detained 81 suspects after ordering the arrest of 125 people, including 29 past workers of the Turkish Foreign Ministry who’d either been fired or suspended. Earlier in October, İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office arrested 97 people after a probe to find wanted active and former soldiers, as well as ex-military students, all allegedly linked to Gulen.
The Turkish government launched a major crackdown in the immediate aftermath of the attempted coup, arresting some 80,000 people to face trial over their supposed role in the failed power-grab. Some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel, members of the judiciary, and others, were fired or suspended from their posts, and over 20,000 people were dismissed from the Turkish army.
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