100 Turkish Soldiers Detained for Links to Erdogan Throw Attempt in 2016

Published January 8th, 2019 - 10:00 GMT
Recep Tayyip Erdogan  (Shutterstock)
Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Shutterstock)

Some 100 Turkish soldiers were ordered to be detained for suspected links to the US-based Music cleric accused of attempting to overthrow Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the summer of 2016, state-owned media said on Monday.

Turkish prosecutors ordered the detention after results of investigations into pay phone communications between alleged members of cleric Fethullah Gulen's network were revealed, according to Anadolu.

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to Gulen since 2016 while over 100,000 have been sacked or suspended from the public sector.

 

Although Ankara has been criticised by human rights defenders and its Western allies over the scale of the crackdown, the nationwide raids have continued in recent weeks.

Turkish officials stress that the operations are necessary to remove the "virus" caused by the Gulen movement's infiltration of key Turkish institutions.

Last week, Turkish police launched nationwide raids to detain nearly 150 people, including military personnel, suspected of ties to the group blamed for the attempted coup, local media reported.

Prosecutors in Istanbul, Konya and Ankara issued arrest warrants for 137 people as part of different investigations into followers of Gulen, state news agency Anadolu and NTV broadcaster reported.

The raids were spread across more than 30 provinces including Ankara where the public prosecutor issued detention warrants for 35 non-commissioned officers in the navy including 10 still in active duty.

Late last year, Turkey’s foreign minister expressed impatience with the US for not extraditing the cleric accused by Ankara of masterminding a failed coup.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a trip to Qatar that Turkey has demanded the return of 84 suspects from the US, including cleric Fethullah Gulen who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania and has denied involvement in the failed putsch.

Cavusoglu says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump discussed Gulen's status on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina two weeks ago.

"When we met in Buenos Aires, President Trump told Erdogan that they have been working on that, but we need to see concrete steps because it has been already more than two years," the minister said.

The fate of Gulen - who has denied any involvement in the attempted coup in Turkey and whom Washington has repeatedly refused to extradite - remains a central point of tension between the two NATO allies.

Gulen's teachings inspired the growth of a moderate, pro-Western Islamic movement that includes scores of schools, hospitals and businesses worldwide.

He left Turkey for the US in the 1990s after being accused of calling for the overthrow of the government.

 

This article has been adapted from its original source.


Copyright @ 2021 The New Arab.

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