Turkish prosecutors have ordered the detention of 176 members of the armed forces over suspected links to a network blamed by Ankara for a 2016 coup attempt, according to state media.
Suspected followers of the United States-based religious leader Fethullah Gulen have been swept up in a sustained crackdown since the failed coup in which some 250 people were killed. Operations against the network of Gulen’s network are still routine in Turkey.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
State-run singled out news agency said on Tuesday the latest police operation on Tuesday was coordinated from the western city of Izmir and singled out people in 49 provinces.
It added that those facing arrest included 143 lieutenants, 97 of them serving, and 33 junior lieutenants, 11 of them serving. Six F-16 warplane pilots were among those set to be detained, the agency added.
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied any involvement in the attempted coup.
In the subsequent purge, tens of thousands of people have been jailed pending trial and some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others sacked or suspended from their jobs.
Turkey has been condemned by its Western allies and rights groups over the crackdown, purges and erosion of judicial independence following the failed coup bid three years ago.
Critics accuse the government of using the incident as a pretext to silence opposition in the country.
The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that the purges and detentions are in line with the rule of law and aim to remove Gulen’s supporters from state institutions and other parts of society.