Over a hundred alleged Gulenist soldiers arrested in latest Turkey crackdown

Over a hundred alleged Gulenist soldiers arrested in latest Turkey crackdown
Around 80,000 people have been arrested since the failed 2016 coup attempt that Ankara blames on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
2 min read
09 November, 2018
Erdogan addresses Turkey's parliament [Getty]

Turkish authorities ordered the arrests of 103 soldiers with alleged ties to the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen who Ankara blames for the failed 2016 coup, the state-run Anadolu news agency said Friday.

Police have so far rounded up 74 people in Istanbul and 31 other provinces, Anadolu reported.

The 103 suspects are active military personnel and include colonels and lieutenant colonels. Turkish prosecutors say these alleged Gulenists communicated over payphones. 

Around 80,000 people including military personnel have been arrested over alleged Gulen links under the post-coup state of emergency imposed nearly two years ago.

Ankara insists the raids are necessary to remove the "virus" caused by the Gulen movement's infiltration of key Turkish institutions.

But Gulen, a former Erdogan ally who has lived in self-imposed exile in the US since 1999, denies orchestrating the 15 July 2016 coup plot that saw 250 killed, not including the plotters.

Ankara's Western allies including the European Union have expressed concern over the scale of the purge, which has seen more than 150,000 people suspended or sacked from the public sector, including judges, soldiers and police. 

While Turkey's post-coup crackdown has focused on suspected Gulenists, the government also used to opportunity to suppress a myriad of opposition groups including Kurdish activists. 

Turkey is also the world's largest jailer of journalists, having imprisoned over 120 since July 2016.

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