Ankara: Turkish police on Tuesday launched raids to detain over 300 people, including military personnel, suspected of ties to a group blamed for a 2016 coup bid, state media reported.
Prosecutors in Turkey’s three biggest provinces — Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir — issued arrest warrants for 324 people as part of different probes into followers of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, the private DHA and the Anadolu state news agency said.
Turkey accuses Gulen of ordering the abortive bid to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 15, 2016 but he strongly denies the claim.
The Istanbul public prosecutor sought the arrest of 53 active duty soldiers in 15 provinces, including in the metropolis, Anadolu reported.
In the Aegean province of Izmir, the public prosecutor issued 182 arrest warrants with police conducting raids across 42 provinces, including Izmir, DHA reported.
The capital’s public prosecutor said it issued 89 arrest warrants in two separate probes including one looking at the gendarmerie, which is in charge of domestic security.
The Ankara prosecutor’s office said 30 suspects had already been detained.
The operations against alleged members of Gulen’s movement have increased in recent months.
More than 760 people were detained last week in operations across 76 provinces of Turkey’s 81 provinces, although 122 suspects were later freed under judicial supervision.
Sixteen other suspects were released, according to the Ankara public prosecutor’s office.
Tens of thousands of people have been arrested over suspected links to Gulen since 2016.
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended from the public sector.
Despite criticism from Western allies and human rights defenders over the scale of the crackdown, the police operations and probes continue with rigour.
Turkish officials insist that the raids are necessary to remove the “virus” caused by the Gulen movement’s infiltration of Turkish state bodies.