Turkey seeks 110 more arrests over Gulen ties

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Turkish police on Monday launched operations to detain 110 more individuals, mostly soldiers, suspected of ties to the group blamed for the 2016 coup attempt, the Ankara public prosecutor’s office said.

Tens of thousands of people have been held over alleged ties to US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen since the failed coup while over 140,000 public sector employees have been sacked or suspended.

Although Ankara has come under heavy criticism from its Western allies and human rights defenders over the scale of the crackdown, Turkish officials stress that the raids are necessary to remove Gulen’s influence in state institutions.

The prosecutor’s office said Monday that among the latest suspects sought were 43 lieutenants and 50 sergeants from the Turkish land forces.

The prosecutor’s office said 67 of the suspects were active duty soldiers.

The prosecutor also issued warrants for nine civilians -- of whom it said eight had already been taken into custody on Monday -- who had worked or were working in the health ministry or hospitals.

The suspects are accused of having links to Gulen who Ankara says ordered the attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in July 2016. Gulen strongly denies Turkey’s claims.

The arrests of alleged Gulen supporters show no sign of slowing down, coming after several nationwide police raids in recent months to detain thousands of people including military personnel.

Last week, prosecutors in Istanbul, Ankara and the Aegean province of Izmir issued arrest warrants for over 600 people as part of multiple probes into the Gulen movement.

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