Turkey arrests 61 soldiers over alleged Gulen links: state media

Those arrested are suspected of having links with US-based Muslim leader Gulen who is blamed for the 2016 failed coup.

An unidentified soldier accused of attempting to assassinate Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the failed last year''s July 15 coup, is escorted by gendarmes
The Turkish government says the arrests following 2016 coup-attempt are in line with the rule of law [File: Osman Orsal/Reuters]

Turkish authorities have ordered the arrest of 61 soldiers from the navy and land forces, including senior officers, on terrorism charges, according to the state media.

Eighteen of those ordered detained were on active duty, the state-run Anadolu news agency said, adding the suspects included 13 majors and 12 captains from the land forces and 24 first lieutenants from the navy.

They were arrested for suspected links to a US-based religious leader and businessman who Ankara says orchestrated a July 2016 failed coup.

Authorities have carried out regular sweeps against alleged members of Fethullah Gulen‘s network since the coup attempt, in which about 300 people, including the plotters, were killed. Gulen denies involvement.

Second operation

In a separate operation, Istanbul police said they detained 21 people who were using an encrypted messaging application used by the network. Most of those detained were teachers who formerly taught at the network’s schools or public institutions, police said.


The detentions are the latest part in a series of nationwide arrests and purges of tens of thousands of people over alleged links to Fethullah Gulen.

Turkey‘s Western allies and human rights groups have criticised the post-coup crackdown, which mostly took place under a state of emergency which was declared shortly after the attempted coup and remained in effect until July 2018.

Ankara says the arrests are in line with the rule of law and necessary to remove Gulen supporters from state institutions and combat threats to national security.

Source: News Agencies