Turkey orders detention of 118 people for suspected Gülen links

Turkey issued detention warrants for 118 people, mostly members of the military and security forces, over suspected links to the Gülen movement, a religious group accused of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt, the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday.

The ongoing operations have been carried out by the Istanbul gendarmerie and counterterrorism unit to apprehend the suspects – 94 of who are currently on active duty – state-run Anadolu news agency quoted a statement from the prosecutor’s office as saying.

Seventy-two suspects have been detained so far in simultaneous operations in 35 provinces. The prosecutor’s office said 52 are in police custody and 20 are with the gendarmerie.

The detention orders, which the Istanbul prosecutor said it had issued based on statements by previously detained individuals and analyses of payphones, included members of the land, air and marine forces, as well as one colonel and three lieutenants, according to Anadolu.

Turkish authorities have carried out a sustained crackdown on alleged followers of U.S.-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen since Turkey’s failed 2016 coup in July 2016. The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement, dubbed “FETÖ” by Ankara, of staging the failed putsch, leading to dismissal of some 150,000 civil and imprisonment of 77,000 people over alleged ties with the organisation.