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Turkey arrests 1,000 'secret imams' in police purge


Turkey

Turkey arrests 1,000 'secret imams' in police purge

Turkey has rounded up more than a thousand people over suspected links to the exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, which President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for last year’s failed coup.

Local media say arrest warrants have been issued for more than 3,000 people. It’s one of the biggest purges in months.

Turkish interior minister Suleyman Soylu said authorities had ‘uncovered’ and ‘brought down’ a network of ‘secret imams’, who had infiltrated security forces. He said these secret imams had tried to form a sort of police within the police and sought to impose their own agenda.

Since the coup attempt last July, authorities have arrested more than 40,000 people suspected of backing Gulen’s Islamic movement – among them soldiers, police, teachers. More than 120,000 people lost their jobs.

Gulen denies he plotted the putsch, and remains in exile in the United States. President Donald Trump is set to discuss his potential extradition next month when he meets Erdogan at the White House.


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