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45 refugees including 17 children detained in northern Cyprus over Gülen links

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Forty-five people, including 17 children, were detained on Saturday by local police in a boat off the coast of Girne in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Sputnik news website reported.

According to the report, most of the detainees were former military, with detention warrants out for some of them. Northern Cyprus could decide to extradite them to Turkey.

The boat was bound for Greece, where thousands of Turkish refugees, mostly from the Gülen movement, have fled to escape persecution after a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkish authorities widely believe the Gülen network orchestrated the coup attempt, although the movement denies it.

Since July 2016, hundreds of thousands of civil servants and servicemen have been dismissed by government decrees over alleged Gülen links, with many of them the victims of further persecution.

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