A Turkish special force soldier stands guard next to the courthouse as a vehicle transporting prisoners passes on December 27, 2016 at Silivri district in Istanbul. (Photo by AFP)
Prosecutors in Turkey
have issued arrest warrants for 85 staff at two ministries as part of a probe targeting the network of US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Ankara accuses of masterminding the July 2016 failed coup.
Broadcaster CNN Turk reported on Tuesday that the detainees are staff at the energy and education ministries. No further details were immediately available.
comes a day after a court jailed the online editor of the opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet
pending trial on a charge of spreading terrorist propaganda, the daily said.
Editor Oguz Guven joined a score of Cumhuriyet journalists already in jail facing sentences of up to 43 years in prison over alleged ties to Gulen.
Turkish officials say over 240 people were killed and more than 2,100 others injured in the failed coup, which was swiftly put down as tens of thousands of people flooded the streets across Turkey to support the government.
This image obtained from Dogan News Agency (DHA) shows Turkish police officers escorting people after their arrest for alleged links with US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen on April 26, 2017 in the central city of Kayseri. (Via AFP)
Ankara has accused Gulen of orchestrating the abortive putsch. The opposition figure is also accused of being behind a long-running campaign to topple the government via infiltrating country’s institutions, particularly the army, police and the judiciary.
Turkey has also outlawed the Gulen movement, branding it as “Fethullah Terrorist Organization.”
Ankara has so far arrested 50,000 people and sacked or suspended some 150,000 others, including military personnel, judges and teachers, over suspected links to Gulen, as part of the post-coup crackdown.
Many rights groups have denounced Ankara’s heavy clampdown.
Gulen has also censured the coup attempt and strongly denied any involvement in the violence. Turkey remains in a state of emergency since the coup.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who is meeting his US counterpart Donald Trump in Washington on Tuesday, has repeatedly called for Gulen’s extradition.