Accessibility links

Breaking News

Turkey Orders Arrests of Dozens of its Soldiers

FILE - Turkish soldiers accused of attempting to assassinate President Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the failed July 15 coup, are escorted to court in Mugla, Turkey, March 8, 2017. On Thursday more arrest warrants were issued for Turkish soldiers.

Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 70 people, including 58 serving soldiers, in an investigation targeting supporters of the U.S.-based cleric accused of orchestrating an attempted coup in July 2016, state media said Thursday.

The operation was focused on the central Turkish province of Konya, with police carrying out simultaneous raids at addresses across 27 provinces, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Twelve of the 70 suspects had previously been expelled from the Turkish armed forces, Anadolu said.

Police operations to detain suspects accused of links to the Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen have been a near daily occurrence since the failed putsch of July 15, 2016, in which Gulen has denied any involvement.

Since then more than 50,000 people, including thousands of security personnel and civil servants, have been jailed pending trial and some 150,000 suspended or dismissed from their jobs.

Rights groups say the crackdown has been exploited to muzzle dissent. The government says the measures have been necessary because of the security threats Turkey has faced since the failed coup, in which 250 people were killed.