Turkey’s chief prosecutor on Friday ordered the detention of more than 100 soldiers in the air force for suspected links to Fethullah Gulen, a self-exiled cleric, a former ally of the Turkish president, who the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016.
The detainees included three colonels, two lieutenant colonels, six majors and three captains. Turkish authorities said all service members detained on Friday were on active duty.
The arrests are part of a massive crackdown Turkey has enacted since July 2016, when parts of the military attempted to oust Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and takeover the government. At least 250 people were killed during the failed coup.
In July, Turkish authorities sacked 6,000 members of the military, along with 9,000 police officers under emergency measures.
More than 110,000 public sector workers have been dismissed and thousands more arrested by decrees issued by Turkey during a state of emergency declared in the wake of the coup.
But human rights groups and critics have accused Erdogan of using state of emergency powers to quash opposition to his rule. Gulen, the self-exiled cleric, has rejected Turkish allegations that he was the mastermind behind the failed coup.
ls/ng (Reuters, AFP)