ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey has ordered the detention of 133 military personnel over suspected links to a network Ankara accuses of organising an attempted coup in 2016, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Tuesday.
The suspects are being sought in an operation centred in the western coastal province of Izmir, Anadolu said, adding that 82 of them were serving members in the military.
Ankara blames U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, of masterminding the failed putsch on July 15, 2016. He has denied any involvement.
In the three-year purge since the coup attempt, more than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial and about 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs. Widespread arrests are still carried out routinely.
Turkey’s Western allies and rights groups have criticised the massive crackdown, saying President Tayyip Erdogan has used the abortive coup as a pretext to quash dissent.
Ankara has defended the measures as a necessary response to the scale of the security threat facing Turkey, and has vowed to eradicate Gulen’s network.
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)