Turkish authorities announced today the arrest of another forty-eight Turkish soldiers and eight other people accused of being connected with the self-appointed former Imam Fethullah Gulen in the USA, which Ankara sees responsible for the failed coup against the President of Turkey Tayyip Erdogan.
Those detained are among the eighty-nine suspects, who were arrested following a warrant issued by the Istanbul Prosecutor’s Office in an investigation conducted in nine provinces, according to the same source.
The authorities have systematically conducted such operations against suspected supporters of Imam Fethullah Gulen from July 2016 onwards, after the attempted coup in which 250 people were killed.
Turkey has detained about 160,000 people and has deprived almost the same number of civil servants after the coup attempt, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported in March. More than 50,000 of them were officially accused and are detained awaiting trial.
Turkey’s western allies have criticised these operations which were conducted under the state of emergency after the coup d’état and remained in force until July 2018.
Critics of President Erdogan accuse him of using the failed coup to justify his attack on dissidents, while the Turkish authorities state that the measures are necessary to tackle the threats to national security.