This file photo shows Turkish security forces.
arrested a nephew of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who is blamed for
masterminding last weekend’s failed military coup.
Saitd Gulen was arrested in the northeastern city of Erzurum on
Saturday and will be sent to the capital, Ankara, for questioning, local
It is the first time a relative of Gulen has been reported detained since the Friday coup attempt.
on Saturday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the closure
of thousands of private schools, charities and other institutions over
suspected links to the Gulen movement.
Erdogan has accused Gulen,
who has many followers in Turkey and abroad, of masterminding last
Friday’s failed coup, in which at least 246 people were killed and more
than 2,100 others sustained injuries. Gulen denies the charge and has
condemned the coup.
Tens of thousands of soldiers, security
officers, judges, prosecutors, civil servants and academics suspected of
ties to the Gulen movement have been detained or suspended from their
jobs following the failed coup.
US-based Turkish opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen ©ReutersErdogan
has pledged to “cleanse” the country’s institutions of the “virus” of
Gulen supporters, drawing concerns from Turkey’s Western allies over his
increasingly authoritarian stance.
Meanwhile, Ankara has
escalated pressure on Washington to extradite Gulen, sending several
“dossiers” that it says are packed with evidence about his alleged role
in the failed coup.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said
on Saturday that Ankara expects to complete within a week to 10 days
the dossier requesting the extradition of Gulen.
said the link between soldiers involved in the July 15 abortive coup
and Gulen’s extensive network of followers was “very clear,” adding that
Turkey would do all it could “politically and legally” to secure his
The US had earlier said it would extradite Gulen if
Turkey provided evidence, not allegations, that he was behind the coup
attempt. Lawyers say that the process could take many years.