Turkish prosecutors on Tuesday issued detention warrants for no fewer than 66 military personnel over their alleged links to a network believed to be behind a coup attempt in 2016.
The state-run Anadolu agency reported police launched simultaneous operations in 28 provinces across the country to catch the suspects upon the order of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Izmir.
It said so far 53 of the suspects, including soldiers on active duty, have been detained.
“All those targeted in operations have alleged connections with the network headed by the U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen,’’ Anadolu added.
Report says the Turkish government blames Gulen and his network for masterminding the coup bid in July 2016, in which 250 people were killed, and has been pushing for his extradition.
The 15 July 2016 coup d’état (Turkish): 15 Temmuz darbe girisime), was attempted in Turkey against state institutions, including the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The attempt was carried out by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces that organised themselves as the Peace At Home Council.
They attempted to seize control of several key places in Ankara, Istanbul, and elsewhere, but failed to do so after forces loyal to the state defeated them.
The Council cited an erosion of secularism, elimination of democratic rule, disregard for human rights, and Turkey’s loss of credibility in the international arena as reasons for the coup.
The government said the coup leaders were linked to the Gilen movement which is designated as a terrorist organization by the Republic of Turkey and led by Fethullah, a Turkish businessman and cleric, who lives in Pennsylvania.