Turkish authorities were sweeping across at least 26 provinces on Friday to detain a total of 137 people over their alleged links to a failed coup in July 2016, state news agency Anadolu reported on Friday.
The chief public prosecutor’s office in Ankara issued detention warrants for 35 suspects, all of them from the Naval Force Command in Ankara, Anadolu reported.
Ten of the suspects are on active duty, according to Anadolu.
The warrants were issued over alleged ties to Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric whom the government blames for the failed 2016 coup attempt by a faction in the military.
Turkey has also branded Gulen’s movement a terrorist organisation. Gulen denies the charges.
In Istanbul, prosecutors ordered the detention of 42 people, including civil servants purged from their posts, over alleged Gulen ties.
The prosecutors concluded that the 42 suspects used ByLock, an encrypted mobile phone application to communicate with other members of the alleged “terrorist organisation,” Anadolu said.
Elsewhere in the central Anatolian province of Konya, prosecutors sought the detention of 60 alleged “secret imams” who the government believes had directed Gulen followers inside the army.
Police are still searching for the suspects, the report added.
Turkish authorities continue to detain alleged “Gulenists” on an almost daily basis, more than two years after the coup attempt.
On July 15, 2016, a coup d’état was attempted in Turkey against state institutions, including the government and President Recep Erdo?an.
The coup perpetrators attempted to seize control of several key places in Ankara, Istanbul, and elsewhere, but failed to do so after forces loyal to the state defeated them.
The council cited an erosion of secularism, elimination of democratic rule, disregard for human rights, and Turkey’s loss of credibility in the international arena as reasons for the coup.
Gülen has suggested the coup was in fact a “self-coup” carried out by Erdo?an to consolidate his grip on power, a belief shared among some analysts and Turks.
During the coup, more than 300 people were killed and more than 2,100 injured.
Many government buildings, including the Turkish Parliament and the Presidential Palace, were bombed from the air.
Mass arrests followed with at least 40,000 detained including at least 10,000 soldiers and for reasons that remain unclear.
Also, 15,000 education staff were suspended and the licenses of 21,000 teachers working in private institutions were revoked as well after the government alleged they were loyal to Gülen.
More than 77,000 people have been arrested and over 160,000 fired from their jobs on accusations of connections to Gülen.
Reactions to the event were largely against the coup attempt, both domestically and internationally.
The main opposition parties in Turkey condemned the attempt, while several international leaders such as those from the U.S., NATO, the EU, and other neighbouring countries.
They called for “respect of the democratic institutions in Turkey and its elected officials.”