Turkey orders new wave of arrests


Turkish prosecutors have ordered the detention of 70 active soldiers over their alleged ties to Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based cleric Turkey says is behind a failed coup attempt in July 2016, Milliyet reports

State prosecutors in the Konya province, in central Turkey, issued the arrest warrants based on statements of other army officials previously detained over links to Gulen. The suspects are believed to have been in charge of student houses for the Gulen movement. Turkish Police also launched operations in 34 provinces across the country.

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Turkish authorities have cracked down on Gulen’s followers after an attempted coup on July 15, 2016. They have since detained 160 000 people and dismissed almost as many civil servants, according to the UN Human Rights Office. The European Union has condemned the arrests and called for Turkey to “safeguard its parliamentary democracy, including the respect for human rights, the rule of law, fundamental freedoms and the right of everyone to a fair trial”.

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Gulen, who has been living in the U.S. since 1999, is the leader of a loosely organized social movement its members often call Hizmet (“service” in Turkish), and which Ankara views as a terrorist organization. The cleric denies any involvement in the attempted coup.

 

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