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Turkey orders arrest of 223 military personnel over suspected Gulen links Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Turkey orders arrest of 223 military personnel over suspected Gulen links

Thousands have been arrested since the 2016 coup [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 September, 2019

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Turkey has ordered the arrest of 223 serving military personnel across the country.
More than 200 serving military personnel face arrest across Turkey over suspected links to a network accused of orchestrating a coup in 2016, Turkish state media said on Saturday.

The 223 suspects are being sought across 49 provinces in Turkey and in Northern Cyprus, state broadcaster TRT Haber said, noting 100 of those facing arrest were serving military members while 41 from the air force and 32 from the navy.

Nearly 250 people were killed – excluding the coup-plotters – and over 2,000 were injured after a rogue military faction tried to wrest power from the president in 2016, but thousands took to the streets in response to Erdogan's call to defeat the uprising.

Some 8,000 military personnel took part in the bid to overthrow Erdogan, backed by 35 fighter jets, three boats, 37 helicopters and 74 tanks, according to state news agency Anadolu

Ankara accuses former ally-turned-foe Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric exiled in the United States, of having ordered the attempted coup and lists his movement as a "terrorist" organisation.

Authorities have detained tens of thousands of individuals since 2016, and the raids show no sign of slowing with almost daily reports of arrest warrants issued despite criticism from Western allies and rights defenders.

Critics say the government is using the purge to crackdown on dissent but Turkish officials stress the raids are necessary to eradicate Gulen's influence in state bodies.

Hundreds of life sentences have been handed down against accused putschists. 

Based in Pennsylvania, he strongly denies Ankara's claims. His movement rejects the "terrorist" tag, insisting it promotes education and moderate Islam.

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