Turkey orders detention of 228 soldiers over Gülen links as 3rd anniversary of coup attempt approaches

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ISPARTA, TURKEY - OCTOBER 12 : President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) views soldiers parading during the badge ceremony of specialized sergeant commando trainees at Counter Terrorism School and Training Center Command in Isparta, Turkey on October 12, 2018. AFP PHOTOS

Ahead of the third anniversary of a July 2016 coup attempt, Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 228 military members as part of a post-coup crackdown on Gülen movement followers.

Turkey accuses of the movement of orchestrating the abortive putsch, although it strongly denies any involvement.

Thousands of military members have been dismissed since the night of the coup due to alleged ties to the Gülen movement.

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday ordered the detention of 176 military members over Gülen links, the state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.

A hundred of the suspects are from the Turkish Land Forces, while 33 are from the Air Forces, 37 from the Naval Forces and six from the Coast Guard, the report said.

According to a statement issued by the prosecutor’s office, the suspects were accused of maintaining their affiliation with Gülen-linked individuals via pay phone.

A total of 2,287 soldiers have been summoned thus far by prosecutors in investigations related to pay-phone calls, the statement added.

In another pay-phone-connected investigation in Ankara, the prosecutor’s office ordered the detention of 32 Air Forces members.

The İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 20 active duty soldiers and 15 others over alleged Gülen links.

Ten of the civilian suspects were accused of using ByLock, a smartphone application that Turkish authorities believe was used among Gülen followers.

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