Turkey seeks arrest of 66 soldiers in latest round of Gülenist purge

Turkish prosecutors ordered the arrest of 66 soldiers over links to the Gülen movement, a religious group that Turkey accuses of masterminding the 2016 coup attempt, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday.

Turkish police have conducting anti-Gülenist raids in 28 provinces in Turkey to arrest the suspects, 48 of whom are active-duty soldiers and 18 who were sacked earlier over Gülen links, Anadolu said. 

The Turkish government began sweeping purges of people it accused of links to the movement after surviving the July 2016 coup attempt. Its U.S.-based leader, Islamist preacher Fethullah Gülen, denies any involvement in the coup attempt.

During its alliance with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party, the Gülen movement had been accused of infiltrating its followers into influential positions of the armed forces, judiciary, police, civil service and the media. The two wings of Turkey’s Islamist movement later fell out with a final breach coming in late 2013, when prosecutors allegedly linked to Gülenists brought corruption charges against Erdoğan’s entourage and attempted to have some of his close allies jailed.