Turkey issues detention warrants for 68 Bank Asya shareholders in post-coup probe: police

A Bank Asya logo is seen at a branch in Ankara August 12, 2014. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish authorities have issued detention warrants for 68 shareholders of Bank Asya in an operation targeting the network of the cleric accused for orchestrating last year’s failed coup attempt, the police said on Wednesday.

The operation, centered in Istanbul and encompassing nine provinces, targeted “class A” shareholders who had voting rights to determine the bank’s administrative board, police said.

The state-run Anadolu news agency said 49 of the suspects had been detained so far.

Bank Asya was founded by followers of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, and was seized by the state in 2015 along with other Gulen-linked companies in a government crackdown.

The government says Gulen masterminded the 2016 attempted coup, in which more than 240 people, many of them unarmed civilians, were killed by rogue soldiers. Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has denied the charges and condemned the coup.

Since the abortive putsch, more than 50,000 people, including civil servants and security personnel, have been jailed pending trial and some 150,000 suspended or dismissed from their jobs.

Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen and Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by David Dolan