103 soldiers, including colonels, lieutenant colonels detained over botched coup

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Suspected of having links to the U.S.-based Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating a failed coup in mid-2016, 103 Turkish soldiers have been ordered to be detained.

Police have carried out regular sweeps against alleged supporters of the preacher Fethullah Gulen since the coup attempt of July 2016, in which 250 people were killed. Gulen denies involvement in the attempted coup. In the latest operation, in Istanbul and 31 other provinces, police have so far detained 74 people, Anadolu said. The 103 suspects, all on active service, included colonels and lieutenant colonels, it said, adding that an investigation had shown they had communicated over fixed-line and pay telephones. Authorities say members of the alleged Gulen network communicated via payphones. Turkey’s Western allies have criticised the crackdown, which mostly took place under a state of emergency declared shortly after the coup attempt and remained in effect until July 2018. Erdogan’s critics accused him of using the failed putsch as a pretext to quash dissent. Turkey says the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.

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