Turkey orders arrest of 219 soldiers in Gulen investigation

14 December 2018 - 09:01 By Reuters
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
Image: Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

Turkish prosecutors ordered the detention of 219 soldiers with suspected links to the US-based Muslim cleric accused of orchestrating a failed coup in 2016, state-owned Anadolu news agency said on Friday.

Police have conducted a steady stream of raids against alleged supporters of the preacher Fethullah Gulen since the coup attempt in July 2016, in which 250 people were killed. Gulen denies involvement.

On the orders of the Istanbul chief prosecutor's office, an operation was launched at 01:00 am to seize the suspects, all soldiers on active service including four colonels, the Hurriyet newspaper website reported.

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that Turkey would start new initiatives abroad to target the financing of Gulen supporters.