Tuesday. 28.11.2023

Turkish authorities on Tuesday detained more than 200 suspects, including serving soldiers, in raids in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities, for alleged ties to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The authorities continue to search for more than 50 further suspects, state news agency Anadolu reported.

The charges are varied, but all are linked to Gulen, whom Turkey blames for the 2016 failed coup by a faction in the military.

Ankara has designated Gulen's movement a terrorist organization.

A former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Gulen denies the allegations.

In raids in Istanbul and seven other cities, 44 civilian and military suspects were sought for alleged Gulen links. Thirty-three have already been detained, according to the report.

Separate raids in several cities, including in Konya, also targeted members of the gendarmerie, along with civilian "secret imams" accused of supporting Gulen backers in the military, according to Anadolu.

Accused of cheating in exams

Some of the detentions targeted people accused of cheating in exams. Ankara accuses Gulen of attempting to infiltrate state institutions by enabling people to cheat in public exams, among other tactics.

Prosecutors in Izmir issued warrants for the arrest of 191 people they say cheated in the 2005, 2011 and 2012 entrance exams for the Air Force Command. Of the suspects, 181 are active-duty soldiers.

A total of 160 people in Izmir and 25 in other cities have already been detained on cheating charges, Anadolu reported.

Nearly four years after the failed putsch, the Turkish government continues to target people suspected of links to Gulen almost every day.

In the military alone, some 20,000 personnel have been purged over alleged links to the coup.

Turkey targets more than 260 Gulen supporters for alleged coup links