July 22, 2016 / 2:00 PM / 3 years ago

Turkey asking Turks abroad to report Gulen supporters whereabouts: Swedish Radio

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Turkey is asking its nationals living abroad to report people and organizations that support a U.S.-based Muslim cleric who is accused of masterminding a failed military coup to Turkish authorities, Swedish Radio reported on Friday.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accuses Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric and former ally, of being behind the plot, which crumbled early on Saturday.

In a crackdown on Gulen’s suspected followers, more than 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, civil servants and educators have been suspended, detained or placed under investigation.

On a Facebook page that caters to supporters of Turkey’s ruling AK Party, a post urged people to call a Turkish number and provide information about supporters of Gulen.

When calling the phone number, public broadcaster Swedish Radio reported it reached the president’s office that confirmed it was interested in information about Gulen supporters also in Sweden and said it wanted “all information you could give, personal data and addresses”.

No one picked up during regular office hours when Reuters called the number on Friday.

Turkey’s ambassador to Sweden, Kaya Turkmen, had not been aware of the post, Swedish Radio said, but he said he found it natural that the Turkish state would be interested in such information.

“Every state has a right to collect information on activities that are directed against it, even if it is individuals living in Sweden,” Turkmen told Swedish Radio, which added there had been similar posts on social media in Germany and Austria.

Reporting by Daniel Dickson and Violette Goarant, additional reporting by Ece Toksabay in Ankara and Humeyra Pamuk in Istanbul; Editing by Angus MacSwan

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