Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for a total of 164 police officers and military personnel across 56 provinces due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the state run Anadolu news agency reported.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday issued detention warrants for 108 police officers who were purged following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 as part of a witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement. Sixty of the 108 suspects were detained during operations in 30 provinces, while 48 are still at large.
In a similar development the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 56 military members on suspicion that they are part of the “military branch” of the Gülen movement. Thirty-four of the 56 are active-duty officers. According to the report, 55 suspects have been detained in operations in 26 provinces.
The ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since a failed coup in July 2016.
The Gülen movement is accused by the Turkish government of mounting the attempted coup last year, but the movement strongly denies any involvement.
One hundred thirty generals and admirals in the Turkish military were either dismissed or suspended as part of a widespread purge following the failed coup attempt in July 2016.
The government has been at the center of criticism for turning the Turkish forces into a political Islamist military in line with the wishes of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
In February Defense Minister Işık said 30,000 new recruits would be enlisted in the Turkish military.
A month later Işık declared that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government had dismissed a total of 22,920 military personnel (6,511 officers and 16,409 cadets) after the coup attempt although the Turkish military stated on July 27 that only 8,651 military members including cadets and conscripts took part in the failed coup.
The Cumhuriyet daily reported in March that the government planned to investigate 90,000 more military members over links to the Gülen movement.
“If it was a coup perpetrated by the Gülen movement and 22,920 military personnel were dismissed for their connections to the movement as Erdoğan and the government assert, why did only 8,651 military members participate in the coup?” is a question being asked by critics.
In February, Henri Barkey, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Wilson Center, said that many generals purged by the Turkish government are pro-NATO and pro-American, saying this could create a shift in Turkey-NATO relations.