Agency: Turkey orders the arrest of 176 military men on suspicion of having links with Koln


Turkish prosecutors ordered on Tuesday the arrest of 176 military suspects on suspicion of links to a network that Ankara says was behind the failed coup attempt three and a half years ago, the official Anatolia news agency reported.

A Turkish security crackdown targeting the suspected followers of Fatahullah Colin has been a US-based cleric since the attempted coup in July 2016 in which about 250 people were killed. Operations targeting the network are still routine.

The agency said that the latest police operations were coordinated in the western city of Izmir, and targeted 49 provinces. She said that those facing arrest, including 143 ranks of lieutenant, of whom 97 are still in service, and 33 of them of junior rank of lieutenant, including 11 who are still in service.

She added that among those issued arrest warrants were six F-16 pilots.

Colin, who has been staying in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied any connection to the coup attempt.

In the purging operation that followed the coup attempt, about 80,000 people were imprisoned pending trial, and decisions were made to isolate or suspend work for about 150,000 military, civil servants, and others.

Turkey’s Western allies and human rights groups have criticized the campaign, while Ankara has defended it as necessary to confront security challenges.


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