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19 Jan, 2021 10:57

160 active military personnel detained in Turkey over links to Gulen ‘terrorist organization’ behind 2016 botched coup – reports

160 active military personnel detained in Turkey over links to Gulen ‘terrorist organization’ behind 2016 botched coup – reports

Dozens of servicemen have been detained in a large-scale operation in Turkey, local media report. The soldiers are suspected of having links to Fethullah Gulen, the exiled preacher Ankara believes was behind the 2016 coup attempt.

The large-scale operation, which swept across 60 Turkish provinces, was reported on Tuesday by the state-owned Anadolu news agency, citing security sources.

Arrest warrants for 238 people, all of whom are active members of Turkish Armed and Air Forces, as well as of its Gendarmerie General Command, had been issued by Izmir prosecutors. A number of the suspects are said to be high-ranking officers, including six colonels, three lieutenant colonels and nine majors.

Some 160 people have already been detained, after other recent police raids. At least 213 of all the suspects are believed to have had frequent phone contacts with the “private imams” of the so-called Fethullah Gulen Terrorist Organization (FETO). That entity, which is alleged to be in existence and led by Gulen, the elusive, US-based, exiled cleric and former ally –though now arch-nemesis – of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has been accused by Ankara of staging the botched 2016 coup attempt. Gulen, however, has consistently denied his involvement in the violence that left over 250 people killed and triggered the ongoing purge by Ankara of suspected FETO supporters.

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Since the coup attempt, some 80,000 people have been held pending trial, while more than 150,000 public servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended over alleged ties to FETO.

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