Detention warrants issued for 192 military personnel

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Turkish authorities have ordered the detention of 192 military personnel in operations targeting suspected supporters of the Gülen movement, accused of orchestrating a failed coup two years ago, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing authorities and media.

One former brigadier general and 30 pilots were among 99 members of the air force facing possible charges in an investigation launched by Ankara prosecutors and spread across 20 other provinces, the prosecutor’s office said.

It said the detainees were suspected of being in contact with the network of the cleric, Fethullah Gülen, and of communicating with it via periodic pay phone calls, a method believed to be used by supporters of the group.

In a separate series of operations, authorities ordered the detention of 93 personnel from the army, navy and coast guard, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Authorities have regularly conducted such sweeps against alleged supporters of Gülen since the coup attempt in July 2016, in which 249 people were killed. Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, denies involvement.

On Tuesday Turkish authorities ordered the detention of 132 people in nationwide operations.

In total, Turkey has detained some 160,000 people and dismissed nearly the same number of state employees since the coup attempt, the United Nations said in March. Of those, more than 50,000 have been formally charged and are being kept in jail during trial.

Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the scale of the crackdown.

Critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accuse him of using the failed putsch to quash dissent. Turkey says the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.

Erdoğan won a further five years in power in Turkey’s presidential election on Sunday. He has also gained sweeping new powers under a constitutional revamp that took effect after the election.

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