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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey detains nearly 200 over Gulen links

The raids show no sign of slowing, with daily reports of arrest warrants issued. [Getty]

Date of publication: 8 December, 2020

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Government critics say Ankara is using the crackdown to target dissenters, but Turkish officials argue the raids are necessary to remove Gulen's influence in state bodies.

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Turkish police on Tuesday detained 198 people, including soldiers, in nationwide raids over alleged ties to the group blamed for a 2016 coup attempt, state news agency Anadolu reported.

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested in regular raids in Turkey against the movement of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen since the 2016 coup bid.

Ankara says the attempted overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was ordered by ally-turned-foe Gulen, but he vehemently denies the accusation.

The raids show no sign of slowing, with almost daily reports of arrest warrants issued despite criticism from Western allies and human rights defenders.

Tuesday's detentions come after the Izmir chief public prosecutor issued 304 arrest warrants, including for 295 active duty military personnel across 50 provinces, Anadolu said.

In the capital, the Ankara chief public prosecutor's office said on Tuesday it issued 47 arrest warrants as part of two separate investigations into the movement.

Government critics say Ankara is using the crackdown to target dissenters, but Turkish officials argue the raids are necessary to remove Gulen's influence in state bodies.

More than 100,000 public sector employees have also been sacked or suspended over suspected links to Gulen since July 2016.

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