Turkey orders arrest of 223 military personnel over suspected terror links

Turkey has ordered the arrest of 223 active duty military personnel across the country and in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) over suspected links to a group Ankara accuses of orchestrating the July 2016 coup attempt, pro-government newspaper Sabah reported on Saturday.

Turkish police are looking to arrest 100 suspects from the land forces, 41 from the air force, 32 from the navy, 46 from the Gendarmerie and four from the coast guard command in 49 provinces across the country and Northern Cyprus, state broadcaster TRT said. 

The suspects are accused of membership in the Gülen movement, a religious group headed by U.S. -based cleric Fethullah Gülen, which Ankara maintains led a long-running scheme to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary. The Turkish government designates the group a terrorist organisation.

Gülen denies the charges.

Over 77,000 people accused of links to the Gülen movement, which is designated as a terrorist organisation by Ankara, have been arrested and another 150,000 public employees suspended or sacked as part of an ongoing worldwide crackdown on the group by the Turkish government.