July 18, 2016 / 3:48 PM / 3 years ago

Turkish finance ministry suspends 1,500 employees over Gulen links: ministry official

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkey’s finance ministry has suspended around 1,500 employees across the country over suspected links to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and his network of supporters, a ministry official said on Monday.

Ankara accuses Gulen of being behind a failed military coup on Friday evening in which more than 200 people were killed. Gulen strongly denies the accusation.

The official said the suspensions were in all departments and across the country. They coincide with a wide-ranging purge of suspected Gulen supporters in the judiciary, civil service, police and armed forces.

Earlier on Monday Turkey repeated its call for the United States, its NATO ally, to extradite Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania for many years. Washington says Ankara must first provide clear evidence of Gulen’s involvement in the abortive coup.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Writing by Gareth Jones

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