January 7, 2019 / 6:02 AM / 8 months ago

Turkey orders arrest of 100 soldiers over suspected Gulen links: Anadolu

FILE PHOTO: U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Pennsylvania, U.S., July 10, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller/File Photo

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish prosecutors ordered the detention of 100 soldiers over suspected links to the network of the U.S.-based Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016, state-owned media said on Monday.

The detentions were the result of investigations into pay phone communications between alleged members of cleric Fethullah Gulen’s network, Anadolu said. It said the detentions were in progress.

Police have conducted a steady stream of raids against Gulen’s alleged supporters since the July 2016 coup attempt, in which 250 people were killed. Gulen denies involvement.

More than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, while 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs as part of the post-coup purges. Widespread operations are still routine.

Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concerns over the scale of the crackdown, saying President Tayyip Erdogan has used the abortive putsch as a pretext to quash dissent.

The government, however, has said the security measures were necessary due to the gravity of the threat Turkey faces.

Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Tuvan Gumrukcu and Michael Perry

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