Turkey orders arrest of 25 soldiers in post-coup probe

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Turkish authorities have issued arrest warrants for 25 soldiers across Turkey and the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in northern Cyprus, security sources said.

This is part of a widening crackdown following the 2016 failed military coup.

The sources said on Thursday that the soldiers, on active duty and of varying ranks in Turkey’s military, are being sought across 13 provinces and Turkish northern Cyprus.

“Prosecutors in the south-eastern province of Mardin ordered the arrest of the soldiers over the “secret military structuring” of the network of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen,’’ the sources said.

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Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. since 1999, is accused by Ankara of masterminding the July 15 coup attempt which he has denied involvement.

Since the coup, over 50,000 people have been jailed pending trial over links to Gulen, while 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from jobs in the military, public and private sectors.

Rights groups and some of Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concern about the crackdown, fearing the government is using the coup as a pretext to quash dissent.

The government said only such a purge could neutralise the threat represented by Gulen’s network, which it said it had deeply infiltrated institutions such as the army, schools and courts.

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