Turkish prosecutors order detention of nearly 700 in Gülen crackdown

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Turkish prosecutors on Tuesday ordered the detention of nearly 700 people, including military and justice ministry personnel, state media said, intensifying moves against a network accused of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt, Reuters reported.

Authorities have carried out a sustained crackdown on alleged followers of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen since the failed bid in July 2016, in which about 250 people were killed.

Police still routinely carry out raids targeting suspects.

Gülen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied any involvement in the attempted coup.

In the latest moves, a prosecutor ordered the arrest of 157 people, including 101 active duty military officers, in an investigation of the Turkish Armed Forces, the state-owned Anadolu news agency said.

About 100 people have so far been detained in the operation, the private Demirören news agency reported.

In the capital of Ankara 71 people were to be detained in an investigation targeting alleged Gülen supporters in the justice ministry, Anadolu said.

It subsequently reported that prosecutors had issued arrest warrants for another 467 suspects across the country over links to Gülen as part of an investigation into corruption in police examinations held in 2009.

Since the coup attempt, about 80,000 people have been jailed pending trial and some 130,000 civil servants, military personnel and others sacked or suspended from their jobs.

Turkey’s Western allies including the European Union as well as rights groups have criticized the scale of the crackdown, while Ankara has defended the measures as a necessary response to the security threat.

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