Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for nearly 700 people, including military and Justice Ministry personnel, over suspected links to the US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for an attempted coup in 2016.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolou news agency reported on Tuesday that the prosecutors were seeking the apprehension of 467 people across the country over their alleged affiliation to Gulen as part of a probe into corruption in police examinations held in 2009.
In the capital, Ankara, it added, 71 people are to be detained in an inquiry targeting suspected Gulen supporters within the Justice Ministry. It also said that warrants had been issued against 157 people, including 101 serving officers, in an investigation of the Turkish Armed Forces.
Meanwhile, the private Demiroren news agency reported that about 100 people had so far been detained in the fresh arrest campaign.
Turkey witnessed a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when rogue soldiers attempted to topple the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A few hours later, however, the coup was suppressed. Some 250 people were killed and over 2,000 others wounded in the abortive putsch.
Since then, Ankara has been engaged in suppressing perceived putschists and sympathizers.
So far, about 80,000 people have been jailed pending trial and some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel, and others sacked or suspended from their jobs.
The Turkish government says Gulen’s supporters have been running “a parallel state” within the civilian and military bureaucracy and pursuing their own agenda.
Gulen has denied orchestrating the coup and has condemned it.