Turkey recently ordered the arrest of 82 military personnel targeting the Muslim preacher’s followers who Ankara says were behind a failed coup in 2016.
The operation was dispersed through 39 provinces. At present, 63 persons have been arrested. Of the perpetrators, there were 70 in active service.
The operation is a way of targeting the now US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, who was said to have inspired and attempted a coup to overthrow Turkey’s current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The crackdown took four years of planning. Gulen denies complicity in the failed coup in which some 250 people were killed.
The detention, ordered by the Chief Prosecutor in the western coastal province of Izmir, has also led to the dismissal of nearly 848 military personnel, including high-ranking officers, through network ties.
About 80,000 persons have been held awaiting trial since the coup attempt and about 150,000 civil servants, military officers and others have been sacked or suspended. More than 20,000 individuals were removed from the Turkish army alone.
Last week a Turkish court sentenced the perpetrators of the attempted coup to life imprisonment and accused hundreds of military officers, pilots and civilians of attempting to overthrow President Tayyip Erdogan.