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Turkey detains more than 1,000 people for suspected links to Gulen

Adem Altan, AFP | Turkish authorities detained up to 1,682 people for questioning last week.

Turkish authorities last week detained 1,682 people over suspected links to militants and arrested 516, the interior ministry said Monday, with more than 1,000 of those detained suspected of having links to exiled US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

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Ankara says Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen orchestrated an attempted coup in July, with 1,096 of his suspected supporters detained and 426 of those subsequently arrested.

Another 508 people were detained for suspected links to Kurdish militants and 78 of those were arrested, the ministry said. Authorities detained 78 people for alleged links to the Islamic State group and arrested 12, it added.

Turkey detains more people

Turkey declared a state of emergency soon after a failed coup in July, detaining thousands of citizens and purging tens of thousands of public servants over alleged ties to outlawed groups as well as to Gulen.

Some 110,000 people have been sacked or suspended in the civil service, army and judiciary and 36,000 people jailed pending trial in the investigation of the failed putsch, in which over 240 people were killed. Gulen has denied involvement in the coup.

Western governments, human rights group and legal experts have repeatedly expressed concern over the crackdown, which some say has begun targeting political opponents and critics. Ankara defends its actions saying they are necessary precautions in the face of ongoing nationwide terrorism.

This year Turkey has seen a series of attacks and bombings in major cities that were the work of either the Islamic State group or Kurdish militants.

Turkey frequently restricts access to social media websites to prevent the spread of graphic images and other material that authorities say would harm public order or security.

Such restrictions usually follow a major crackdown or a terrorist attack. On Friday access was restricted to social media websites for several hours after the Islamic State group released a video purportedly showing two Turkish soldiers being burned alive.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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