Turkey 'detains 150 soldiers over alleged coup links'

Turkey 'detains 150 soldiers over alleged coup links'
In Erdogan's latest purge of suspected coup supporters, 150 soldiers were arrested and detained, joining the 8,500 armed forces sacked since the attempted overthrow.
2 min read
Since the failed coup, over 140,000 public workers, including military personnel, have been sacked [Getty]

Turkish police on Friday detained 150 soldiers over suspected links to the movement Ankara blames for the 2016 failed coup, state media reported.

The Istanbul prosecutor had issued arrest warrants for 300 soldiers, including 211 on active duty, state news agency Anadolu said.

Since the July 2016 attempted overthrow of Erodgan's government, more than 50,000 people have been arrested and 140,000 public workers, including military personnel, have been sacked or suspended over alleged links to the US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen or Kurdish militants.

Turkey accuses Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, of ordering the failed coup. He strongly denies the claims and insists his movement is peaceful.

Istanbul police took 150 soldiers into custody during the latest operation, Anadolu reported, as part of an investigation into the Gulen movement inside the armed forces.

Some 8,500 Turkish armed forces personnel have been sacked so far, including 150 generals, which is more than half of the military's pre-coup contingent of top-ranking officers.

Last month, Turkish Defence Minister Nurettin Canikli said authorities would soon dismiss nearly 3,000 more military personnel via emergency decree.

Five days after the coup bid, Turkey introduced a state of emergency which was renewed for a seventh time last month despite Ankara's Western allies calling for it to end.

Turkish presidential elections are set to take place next month, with incumbent Erdogan the favourite to win. His victory will see the introduction of new laws that increase his presidential powers, a move many see as a consolidation of his authoritarian regime.