Turkey Orders Arrest of 176 Military Personnel in New Gülen Purge
Turkey has ordered the arrest of 176 military personnel from the army, air force and navy over suspected links to Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen and the network alleged by Ankara to be behind an attempted coup in 2016, the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office said on Tuesday. Last week, 82 members of the military were charged for being part of the plot to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and in June, a Turkish court handed down life sentences for 24 suspects. Erdogan has accused Gülen, who is opposed to the Islamization of the country, of being the mastermind of the failed coup. However, he has denied any involvement. Gülen exiled himself to the United States in 1999 and is now based in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. In 2017, he was stripped of his Turkish citizenship. An estimated 150,000 military and government personnel were relieved of their duties in the wake of the failed coup, and tens of thousands more are in jail awaiting trial. Erdogan’s critics have accused him of using the attempted coup as a pretext to crack down on dissent and consolidate his power.