Critics claim Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is using the failed coup, which the leader blamed on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, as a pretext to stifle dissent. (AFP file photo)
Operation, covering 60 provinces, part of a four-year-old crackdown against the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen
ISTANBUL: Turkey has ordered the arrest of 238 people in an operation targeting suspects in the military allegedly linked to a Muslim preacher who Ankara says was behind a 2016 failed coup, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.
The operation, covering 60 provinces, was part of a four-year-old crackdown against the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. He denies involvement in the July 2016 putsch attempt, in which more than 250 people were killed.
Anadolu said 160 people had been detained in the latest police raids, ordered by prosecutors in Izmir. It said suspects were also targeted in northern Cyprus, where the Turkish military is deployed.
Among the suspects were 218 serving military personnel, including six colonels, three lieutenant colonels and nine majors, Anadolu said.
Since the coup attempt, about 80,000 people have been held pending trial and some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended. More than 20,000 people had been expelled from the Turkish military.