Turkey on Monday ordered the detention of 149 people, mainly former police officers, over suspected links to the Gülen movement, which Ankara says orchestrated a failed coup in 2016, Reuters reported, citing local media.
Authorities have carried out a sustained crackdown on alleged followers of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen since the failed coup in July 2016, when 250 people were killed.
Gülen denies any involvement. A former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, he has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.
The prosecutor’s office in the western province of Balıkesir ordered the detention of 74 people, all previously sacked from the security forces and including six former police chiefs, the state-run Anadolu news agency and security officials said.
Prosecutors in southeastern Gaziantep province ordered the detention of 33 people, including 24 security forces personnel on active duty, Anadolu said. It said that in western Bursa province, prosecutors ordered the detention of 42 people, including six soldiers on active duty.
Erdoğan has for years accused Gülen’s supporters of establishing a “parallel state” by infiltrating the police, judiciary, military and other state institutions.
Since the coup attempt, about 80,000 people have been held pending trial and some 130,000 civil servants, military personnel and others sacked or suspended.
Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the scale of the crackdown, while Ankara has defended the measures as a necessary response to the security threat.