105 active duty soldiers among 167 sought in post-coup purge: report

Arrested officer

Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 167 people, at least 105 of whom are soldiers on active duty, in two separate investigations over alleged links to the Gülen movement, Turkish Minute reported.

Eighty-nine suspects were detained as part of an investigation out of the western province of İzmir, in which 110 suspects — including 105 active duty military personnel — are being sought, state broadcaster TRT News said. The İzmir Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants across 26 provinces as part of an ongoing probe into the Turkish air force and coast guard commands.

The soldiers are accused of being members of the Gülen movement, a religious group inspired by US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the movement since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen strongly denies involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity. Following the allegations, Gülen called on the Turkish government to allow for an international investigation.

Another 32 out of 57 suspects were detained in an İstanbul-based investigation, again targeting movement members across 15 provinces, the state-run Anadolu (AA) news agency reported.

Police spokesmen were approached by Reuters for comment, but they were not immediately able to provide more detail on the investigations.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu had previously said on a TV program that there was no reaction from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, despite the fact that it was detaining soldiers almost every single day.

A spokesperson for the Turkish Ministry of National Defense said on October 4, that a total of 20,312 military personnel have been summarily dismissed from the TSK since the abortive putsch and investigations are ongoing into a further 3,718 military personnel.

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