Turkey detains hundreds over alleged links to cleric Gulen
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Turkish authorities detained 729 people in nationwide raids Tuesday over alleged links to the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016, state news agency Anadolu reported.
Earlier on Tuesday, Ankara's public prosecutor said officials had sent, to authorities in 75 provinces, the names of 1,112 people under investigation over suspected ties to Gulen and his movement.
The operation, related to alleged cheating in police examinations, showed authorities were not letting up on their crackdown two-and-a-half years after rogue soldiers used warplanes, helicopters and tanks in a bid to seize power.
More than 250 people were killed in the failed putsch, in which Gulen, a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has denied involvement. Gulen has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.
Tuesday's operation related to a police force examination in 2010 for those seeking to become deputy inspectors, and allegations that some of those taking part had received the questions in advance, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
The Ankara public prosecutor's office, which leads the coup investigation, said 130 people on the list of suspects were deputy police chiefs still on active duty.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said on Sunday a "big operation" was looming against Gulen supporters. "Devils would not perpetrate deceptions like they have," he said. "We will finish them off."
The government says his network over decades infiltrated state institutions including the security forces, judiciary and ministries, often helped by cheating in exams, to create a "parallel state".
There have been regular raids across Turkey in recent weeks against alleged members of the movement, despite criticism from human rights defenders and Ankara's Western allies over the scale of the crackdown.
Tens of thousands of people have been taken into custody over suspected links to Gulen since 2016 while over 100,000 -- including teachers, police officers, and judges -- have been sacked or suspended from the public sector.
Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said last month that 31,088 people have been convicted or jailed over suspected Gulen links.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)