Turkish prosecutors have ordered the detention of 72 current and former members of the military over suspected links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of orchestrating a 2016 attempted coup, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.
The detention warrants were issued by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which is overseeing an investigation into alleged Gülenists within the military and which reportedly tracked down chains of consecutive phone calls to identify the suspects.
Police launched the operation early in the morning, with simultaneous raids spreading across several provinces that led to the detention of 53 military members. A search is underway for the remaining soldiers sought on the warrants.
Police operations targeting supporters of Gülen have been carried out regularly since the failed coup. Gülen and his movement strongly deny any involvement in the attempt.
More than 77,000 people have been jailed, while some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs as part of post-coup purges.
Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concerns over the crackdown, saying President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has used the abortive coup as a pretext to quash dissent.