ISTANBUL) – Turkish authorities detained 48 soldiers and eight others over alleged links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says orchestrated a failed 2016 coup against President Tayyip Erdogan, the Hurriyet newspaper said on Monday.
Those detained were among 89 people whose detention was ordered in an investigation by Istanbul prosecutors, the newspaper reported.
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Authorities have carried out such sweeps against suspected Gulen supporters on a regular basis since the , in which 250 people were killed. Gulen denies involvement.
Turkey has detained 160,000 people and dismissed nearly the same number of civil servants since the putsch attempt, the UN human rights office said in March. Of that number, more than 50,000 have been formally charged and kept in jail during their trials.
Turkey‘s Western allies have criticized the crackdown, which took place under the state of emergency declared shortly after the coup attempt and which remained in effect for two years until July 2018.
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.
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