Turkey has detained a former police chief, several governors and nine journalists, according to state media, the latest in a string of detentions since a failed attempt to topple the government last month.
The Istanbul chief public prosecutor’s office issued a detention order on Tuesday for Huseyin Capkin, the city’s ex-police chief, after new evidence surfaced in its investigation into the finances of a movement led by US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara blames for the July 15 events.
Gulen denies any involvement in the failed coup bid.
Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency said Capkin was held in the western city of Izmir.
A detention order was also issued for an unnamed governor and two unidentified district governors.
Eight governors, including former Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu, one deputy governor and three district governors had been put under arrest earlier this month as part of the failed coup probe.
Detention warrants were also issued on Tuesday for a total of 35 journalists, accused of using the media organisations they worked for and their social media accounts to make propaganda on behalf of the Gulen movement, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported.
Nine journalists were held in police operations in Istanbul, Ankara and the northwestern province of Kocaeli on Tuesday, according to Anadolu.
Dincer Gokce, the editor of Hurriyet’s English-language website, was among those arrested.
Former writers for the Bugun, Radikal and Yeni Safak dailies, and the defunct Zaman newspaper, were also arrested, according to Turkish broadcaster NTV.
Eighteen of the journalists have left the country and authorities were still searching for the remaining eight, Anadolu said.
In a separate development, Greek authorities said on Tuesday that a man claiming to be a judge facing persecution in Turkey after the failed coup attempt had reached the eastern Aegean island of Chios on a boat with a small group of refugees.
Greece’s merchant marine ministry says the 48-year-old Turk was arrested for illegally entering the country . A ministry official said the man had told authorities he would seek asylum in Greece.
Meanwhile, the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee Turkey rapporteur said on Tuesday that the respect of human rights and the rule of law in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt would be a crucial test for the state of Turkey’s democracy.
The traumatic effect of the coup attempt on Turkish society should not be underestimated, Kati Piri said in a statement.
She also emphasised, however, that the aftermath of the coup attempt involved “the arrest of thousands of people […] who definitely were not involved in the coup”.
“The rule of law, including access to lawyers and fair trials, must be respected and this will be a crucial test for democracy in Turkey,” she said.
Some 35,000 people have been held for questioning and more than 17,000 of them have been formally arrested to face trial, including soldiers, police, judges and journalists.
Tens of thousands more, suspected of links to Gulen, have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs in the judiciary, media, education, healthcare, military and local government. Some critics say they may have been wrongly dismissed.
Ankara’s moves have raised concerns among Turkey’s Western allies and human rights organisations, who have urged the government to show restraint.