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Turkey orders detention of 133 military personnel for suspected Gulen links

FILE PHOTO: US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, US July 10, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller/File Photo
2019-11-19

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SULAIMANI — Turkey has ordered the detention of 133 military personnel over suspected links to a network Ankara accuses of organizing an attempted coup in 2016, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday (November 19).

The suspects are being sought in an operation centered in the western coastal province of Izmir, Anadolu said, adding that 82 of them were serving members in the military, according to Reuters.

Ankara blames US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, of masterminding the failed putsch on July 15, 2016. He has denied any involvement.

In the three-year purge since the coup attempt, more than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial and about 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs. Widespread arrests are still carried out routinely.

Turkey’s Western allies and rights groups have criticized the massive crackdown, saying President Tayyip Erdogan has used the abortive coup as a pretext to quash dissent.

Ankara has defended the measures as a necessary response to the scale of the security threat facing Turkey, and has vowed to eradicate Gulen’s network.

(NRT Digital Media/Reuters)