Turkey detains, suspends thousands in new anti-Gulen crackdown

Turkey's police force today said it was suspending over 9,000 police officers over alleged links to the US-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen who is blamed for the July 15 failed coup.

Gulen, who lives in the USA state of Pennsylvania, denies playing any part in the coup.

They also announced the suspension of more than nine thousand police officers connected to Gulen. Gulen denies any role in the attempt. Police launched simultaneous operations across the country on Wednesday, detaining hundreds of people with suspected links to US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

A Turkish court accepted a criminal indictment demanding life imprisonment for 30 people with ties to a newspaper linked to a Muslim cleric whom the government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt.

Meanwhile, the 9,103 police officers were being suspended on suspicion of links or contacts to Gulen's group, on the grounds of national security, the police force said in a statement on its website.

More than 100,000 people, including police, military personnel and teachers, have been purged from the civil service as part of the crackdown on Gulen's movement since the coup.

According to Soylu, the "secret imams" were part of a parallel leadership structure within the police force that was ultimately answerable to Gulen, whose extradition has always been sought by Turkish authorities.

The nationwide sweep was one of the largest operations in months against suspected supporters of the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of Erdogan.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that EU-Turkey ties have been "severely hit" by recent developments, such as the arrest of a German journalist and doubts about whether the referendum was held under fair conditions.

The latest arrests come just 10 days after the April 16 referendum approving the expansion of President Tayyip Erdogan's powers.

Rebecca Gustafson, senior communications adviser for the organization, said in a statement that IMC is "working with the Turkish government to secure the release of those staff still detained as soon as possible, and we continue to support our team members and their families during this very hard time".

The U.S. envoy said differences among the countries were particularly noteworthy in the media, adding the current situation revealed the fact that they need each other.

President Recep Erdogan, who was once allied with Gulen, declared victory in a referendum granting his office a wide range of powers.

  • Leroy Wright