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Turkish authorities arrest scores of troops in latest post-coup attempt crackdown

Some 77,000 people have been arrested since the failed 2016 coupt attempts [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 January, 2020

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Turkish prosecutors arrested 115 soldiers, 109 of them active personnel, in the latest purge against those suspected of supporting US-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen.
Turkish authorities on Tuesday ordered the arrest of 115 soldiers, over alledged linked to a network responsible for carrying out a failed coup attempt, state-run media reported.

The 115 troops are among a total of 175 detained as part of an ongoing investigation into a network led by US-based Muslim cleric, Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara believes was behind the coup, Andalou News Agency reported.

Suspected followers of Gulen have been targeted in a sustainied crackdown which has seen some 77,000 people arrested and 130,000 others dismissed from state jobs since the failed putsch, in July 2016.

Operations against the network are still routine in Turkey.

Read more: More than 200 detained in Turkey over Gulen links

State media reported that 108 of the soldiers arrested on Tuesday are currently on active duty. Six F-16 pilots and four district gendarmerie commanders were also numbered among the detained. 

The police operation was coordinated from the western city of Izmir and singled out suspect in nearly 50 provinces across Turkey.

On July 2016, nearly 250 people were killed - excluding the coup-plotters - while over 2,000 more were injured, after a rogue faction split from the Turkish military and attempted to wrest power from President Recep Tayyip Erdagan.

Some 8,000 military personnel were involved in the bid to overthrow him, supported by 35 fighters jets, three boats, 37 helicopters and 74 tanks, according to Andolou

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied any involvement in the orchestrated coup.

Tens of thousands remain in Turkish prisons awaiting trial since the purge, which has been condemned by Western allies and rights groips.

Critics have accused the government of using the incident as a pretext to silence all dissent in the country, pointing to the vast number of opposition politics and journalist who have been caught up in the crackdown.

Yet Ankara maintains the erosion of juridicial independence is in line with the rule of law, aiming to cleanse state institutions and other sectors of society of their ties to Gulen's Islamic network. 

His movement denies the "terrorist" tag, insisting it promotes education and moderate Islam.

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