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Turkey World

Turkey seeks arrest of 360 people in probe targeting Gulen network in army

PHOTO ARCHIVE: Erdogan accuses Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen and his network of orchestrating the attempted coup in 2016

Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 360 people in an operation targeting supporters of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen within the army, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Wednesday.

It said 333 of those facing arrest in the Istanbul-based operation were soldiers, 216 of them serving personnel. Ankara accuses Gulen and his network of orchestrating an attempted coup last year. Gulen denies the charge.

Istanbul police officers were continuing operations to capture the suspects, it said. The private Dogan news agency said seven of those facing arrest were pilots.

More than 50,000 people have been jailed pending trial over links to Gulen, while 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from jobs in the public and private sectors since the July 15 failed putsch, in which 250 people were killed.

Sixteen months on, operations targeting supporters of the U.S.-based preacher are continuing on a daily basis. Last week, nearly 700 people were detained in related investigations.

While Turkey’s Western allies and rights groups have voiced concern that Ankara is using the investigations to crack down on dissent, Turkey says only such a purge could neutralise the threat represented by Gulen’s network, which it says infiltrated institutions such as the military, judiciary and schools.

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