Turkey seeks to arrest scores over alleged Gulen links

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Turkey has ordered the arrest of 122 people over suspected links to the network blamed by Ankara for orchestrating a failed military coup, state media said on Tuesday.

Prosecutors in the Istanbul, Konya and Izmir provinces issued dozens of arrest warrants for suspects including military personnel, some of whom are still on active duty and some already sacked, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The agency said more than 40 suspects had been caught so far and operations were ongoing in various provinces of Turkey.

Ankara has accused US-based Muslim religious leaderFethullah Gulenof masterminding the attempted putsch in July 2016. He has denied any involvement.

Authorities believed members of Gulen’s network had used payphones to contact the suspects, Anadolu also said.

Mass arrests

Almost three years after the failed coup, tens of thousands of people have been jailed pending trial and civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs.

Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have criticised the scope of the crackdown, saying President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used the abortive coup as a pretext to quash dissent.

The government has said the security measures are necessary due to the gravity of the threat Turkey faces, and has vowed to eradicate Gulen’s network in the country’s state institutions and civil life.

There have been hundreds of detentions in recent months despite the criticisms.

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