Turkey arrests over 50 top officers amid crackdown after mid-July coup attempt
Iran Press TV
Sat Dec 17, 2016 2:0PM
Turkish authorities have detained more than 50 high-ranking officers as the Ankara government escalates its wide-ranging crackdown against people allegedly linked to US-based Muslim preacher and opposition figure Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of having masterminded the failed July 15 coup.
The Istanbul Public Prosecutor's Office said in a statement on Saturday that 53 officers had been arrested. A total of 48 people were arrested in the coastal city and the remaining five were detained elsewhere in the country.
The development came shortly after the Istanbul 11th Criminal Court of Peace issued arrest warrants for 530 military personnel, including 280 officers and 250 sergeants.
Turkish officials are on the lookout for the rest of the suspects, some of whom are believed to be using ByLock mobile application, which the Turkish government claims to be the top communication tool among members of the Gulen movement.
Ankara says it has been successful in significantly diminishing the power of Gulen's supporters in state institutions following the coup.
Gulen has strongly condemned the coup attempt and denied any involvement in it.
Turkish officials say over 240 people were killed and more than 2,100 others injured in the coup attempt.
Tens of thousands of people, including military personnel, judges and teachers, have been suspended, dismissed or detained as part of the post-coup crackdown.
According to a survey conducted by the official Anadolu news agency, a total of 40,832 suspects have been arrested since the mid-July botched putsch. A total of 2,279 administrative and judicial judges, 104 members of the Appeals Court, 41 members of the Council of State, two members of the Supreme Court, and three members of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors have been arrested as part of the ongoing investigations.
Additionally, 168 army generals, 7,596 Security Directorate police officers, 17 governors, 74 deputy governors, and 69 district governors under the Interior Ministry have been detained.
International rights groups argue that Ankara's crackdown has gone far beyond the so-called Gulenists and targeted Kurds as well as government critics in general.
On November 24, the European Parliament decided to temporarily halt accession negotiations with Turkey over the large-scale crackdown.
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