Turkey issues warrants for scores of suspected 'Gulenists'

Turkey issues warrants for scores of suspected 'Gulenists'
More than 77,000 have been arrested in Ankara's crackdown of alleged Gulenists, following an attempted coup in Turkey in 2016.
2 min read
10 September, 2018
Erdogan at the Ataturk Mausoleum in Ankara [Getty]

Turkish authorities issued arrest warrants on Monday for 102 people - including military officers - over their suspected ties to a US-based Muslim cleric Ankara blames for the 2016 failed coup attempt. 

The warrants, issued by Ankara's prosecutor's office, include 13 army majors, 71 military personnel as well as 18 suspected of ties to cleric Fethulah Gulen's network. 

Fifty-six of the 102 suspects have already been detained, Anadolu news agency reported. 

More than 77,000 people including military personnel have been arrested over alleged Gulen links under the post-coup state of emergency imposed nearly two years ago.

Ankara's Western allies - including the EU - have expressed concern over the scale of the purge which has seen more than 140,000 people suspended or sacked from the public sector, including judges, soldiers and police. 

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

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, insists his movement is peaceful and denies any involvement in the coup.

While Turkey's post-coup crackdown has mainly focused on suspected Gulenists, the government also used the opportunity to suppress other opposition groups.

In July, Erdogan was sworn in for his second term as head of state under a new executive presidency, which dispenses with the office of prime minister. The new system was agreed in a bitterly fought 2017 referendum narrowly won by the "Yes" camp, and the issue is still polarising in Turkey.

Critics and rights groups have warned that an executive presidency will lead to one-man rule in Turkey. 

Erdogan is under new rules now able to form and regulate ministries and remove civil servants, all without parliamentary approval. 

Turkey's parliament approved a new "anti-terror" law after Erdogan won re-election in July that strengthens police powers, a move which followed the end of two years of emergency rule. 

Agencies contributed to this report. 

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