Turkey orders 1,112 arrested over links to cleric Gulen
Turkey launched on Tuesday one of its largest operations against alleged supporters of the US-based Muslim cleric accused of leading an attempted coup in 2016, ordering the arrest of 1,112 people, state media reported.
The operation, related to alleged cheating in police examinations, showed authorities were not letting up on their crackdown two-and-a-half years after rogue soldiers used warplanes, helicopters and tanks in a bid to seize power.
More than 250 people were killed in the failed putsch, in which preacher Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan, has denied involvement. Gulen has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.
Tuesday’s operation related to a police force examination in 2010 for those seeking to become deputy inspectors, and allegations that some of those taking part had received the questions in advance, Reuters reported.
So far 124 suspects have been detained in the operation launched by the Ankara chief prosecutor’s office and extending across 76 provinces, Anadolu said. It was not clear how many, if any of the suspects, were serving police officers.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Sunday a “big operation” was looming against Gulen supporters. “Devils would not perpetrate deceptions as they have,” he said. “We will finish them off.”
The government says his network over decades infiltrated state institutions including the security forces, judiciary and ministries, often helped by cheating in exams, to create a “parallel state”.