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Turkey Arrests 116 Accused of Contacts With US-Based Muslim Cleric
Fethullah Gülen at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania in 2016. (AlphaX News/Creative Commons)

Turkey Arrests 116 Accused of Contacts With US-Based Muslim Cleric

The Turkish police have arrested 116 people suspected of communicating with “covert imams” connected to the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, security sources said Tuesday morning. This follows the issuing of 82 arrest warrants for suspected Gülen supporters in the western coastal province of Izmir – among them 70 active-duty soldiers – who are accused of infiltrating the Turkish Armed Forces. Ankara blames Gülen for a failed attempt to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2016 and has requested the cleric’s extradition from the United States, which the US has rejected. Turkey has also recently taken steps to sack 848 military personnel, including high-ranking officers, over alleged links to Gülen. Turkey’s widespread crackdown on alleged dissidents and “terrorists” over the past four years has seen the detention of about 80,000 people and the dismissal or suspension of 150,000 from their jobs in the civil service and military. Last week, a Turkish court handed down life sentences to hundreds of army officers, pilots and civilians convicted of leading the attempted coup, during which around 250 people were killed.

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