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Iran Press TV

Turkey orders detention of 380 businessmen over links to Fethullah Gulen

Iran Press TV

Thu Jan 5, 2017 1:44PM

Prosecutors in Turkey have ordered the detention of 380 businessmen suspected of assisting Fethullah Gulen, a US-based cleric who is accused by Ankara of having masterminded a coup attempt in the country in mid-July 2016.

The arrest warrants were issued on Thursday as prosecutors also demanded permissions for searches of houses and offices of the suspects, who were believed to have financially supported Gulen and his network in Turkey.

More than 40,000 people have been arrested in Turkey on suspicions of having links to Gulen and the failed coup while more than 100,000 have been sacked or suspended from work over the same accusations.

Gulen, who runs a vast network of schools and cultural centers in Turkey and other Muslim countries, has categorically denied any role in the coup attempt, which claimed the lives of at least 240 people.

He warned in the summer that the accusations may be a ploy by the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to tighten the grip on dissent.

Turkey has also been carrying out a severe crackdown on those believed to be linked to Kurdish militants operating in the country's southeast.

The state-run Anadolu agency said Thursday that nine suspects, including two provincial officials of the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), were remanded in custody by a court earlier in the day over alleged links to Kurdish militants.

The nine were among some 30 people arrested overnight, who included HDP Istanbul Provincial Chair Dogan Erbas and Vice Chair Aysel Guzel. The report said that 11 suspects were initially taken to court but nine were remanded in custody over terrorism-related charges. The two others were released under judicial court while legal procedures were continuing for the remaining 19 suspects, according to the report.

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