Police detain over 200 in anti-Gülen operation in Turkish army

Turkish police have detained over 200 suspects in nationwide operations targeting the Gülen movement in the army. The suspects include 123 on-duty soldiers.

Duvar English - Anadolu Agency 

Turkish police on March 23 detained 203 suspects in nationwide operations targeting the network of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen in the army. 

Operations were held across 53 provinces in the country and Turkish Cyprus after the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in the Aegean province of İzmir issued detention warrants for dozens of suspects, of whom 123 are on-duty soldiers. 

Colonel, as well as lieutenants, majors, captains, sergeants and specialist sergeants were among those sought in the operations against the infiltration of the Gülenists in the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), according to the prosecutor's office.

The suspects are accused of communicating with Gülen operatives via payphone.

Some 39 of the suspects belonged to the land forces, while 97 were from the air force, six from the navy, four from the gendarmerie, and 38 were graduates of military schools that were disbanded after the July 15, 2016 botched coup that's widely believed to have been orchestrated by the Gülenists. 

In a separate operation in the capital Ankara against the network, warrants were issued for 19 suspects. According to the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, the suspects are accused of communicating with covert Gülenists via payphones.

Those being sought with the warrants include 11 sergeants, three retired soldiers, two dismissed non-commissioned officers and one discharged military student. 

Turkey deems the Gülen network a terrorist organization and has been carrying out widespread operations since the coup bid.  

In the wake of the attempted takeover, some 80,000 people were held pending trial and some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others were sacked or suspended. More than 20,000 people have been expelled from the Turkish military.