Turkish authorities have ordered the arrest of 414 people, mostly members of the armed forces, for alleged links to Fethullah Gülen’s network, which Ankara accuses of orchestrating the failed 2016 coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Militaire reported.
Turkish authorities are conducting a systematic campaign to remove all elements that are anti-Erdoğan from state institutions following the 2016 coup that killed 250 people.
Gülen, a former ally of Erdoğan that has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999, denies any involvement in the coup attempt.
A police operation to arrest 191 suspects was coordinated in Smyrna (Σμύρνη, Turkish: İzmir) in the western part of the country and targeted people from 22 provinces, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. According to the agency, police have already arrested 160 of the suspects.
In a separate development, a Constantinople prosecutor ordered the arrest of 158 people, including members of the military personnel of the Armed Forces, doctors and teachers, of whom 86 have been arrested so far, Anadolu reported.
Anadolu said arrest warrants had been issued against 32 people as part of another operation targeting members of the air force who were allegedly linked. Turkish authorities are also searching for 33 people from the gendarmerie, the agency said.
In a separate operation in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, a historically Assyrian city with a Kurdish majority today, police arrested 16 members of the armed forces over the weekend, security sources said. A local court today remanded six of them in custody pending trial and released ten others.
After the coup attempt, about 80,000 people were arrested and about 150,000 civil servants lost their jobs. This is a part of Erdoğan’s clamp down on people who were against him.
Turkey’s western allies are criticising the scale of the crackdown, while Ankara is defending the measures, which it sees as a necessary response to the security threat.
Erdoğan has for years accused Gülen supporters of establishing a “parallel state” by infiltrating the police, the judiciary, the military and other state institutions.