ISTANBUL – Turkish authorities detained 33 soldiers and six others for suspected links to the network of the U.S.-based cleric Ankara says orchestrated the 2016 attempted coup, state-run Anadolu news agency said on Wednesday.
The detentions were part of a larger operation targeting suspected members of Gulen’s network within the navy, land and air forces, as well as the gendarmarie, Anadolu said. Another 28 soldiers and four other individuals have yet to be detained, it said.
Among those ordered detained are one lieutenant colonel, 13 majors and 10 captains, it said.
Authorities have carried out regular sweeps against alleged members of cleric Fethullah Gulen’s network since the coup attempt of July 2016, in which 250 people were killed. Gulen denies involvement.
Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the post-coup crackdown, which mostly took place under a state of emergency which was declared shortly after the attempted coup and remained in effect until July 2018.
President Tayyip Erdogan’s critics accuse him of using the failed putsch as a pretext to quash dissent. Turkey says the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.[Source: Reuters]