Turkey orders arrest of 249 foreign ministry staff in post-coup probe

People take over a tank near the Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge during clashes with military forces in Istanbul in this photo on July 16, 2016. (AFP)
Updated 20 May 2019
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Turkey orders arrest of 249 foreign ministry staff in post-coup probe

  • Authorities have carried out regular operations against the alleged followers of Fethullah Gulen
  • The US-based cleric is accused of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016

ANKARA: Turkish authorities ordered the arrest of 249 foreign ministry personnel over suspected links to the network of a US-based cleric accused of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016, broadcaster NTV said on Monday.
Authorities have carried out regular operations against the alleged followers of Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, since the failed coup attempt on the night of July 15, 2016. Gulen denies allegations he was behind it.
The Ankara chief prosecutor’s office said it ordered the arrest of 249 members of Turkey’s foreign ministry after investigations found that they had committed irregularities in the ministry’s past entrance exams, NTV reported.
It said 78 suspects had been detained so far in operations across 43 provinces and that police were seeking the rest.
More than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, while some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs as part of the post-coup purges.
Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concerns over the crackdown, saying President Tayyip Erdogan has used the abortive putsch as a pretext to quash dissent. The government has said the security measures were necessary due to the gravity of the threat Turkey faces.


Egypt accuses UN of seeking to ‘politicize’ Morsi death

Updated 39 min 45 sec ago
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Egypt accuses UN of seeking to ‘politicize’ Morsi death

  • Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman said the UN is trying to politicize a natural death
  • The High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an independent investigation into the death of Morsi

CAIRO: Egypt accused the United Nations on Wednesday of seeking to “politicize” the death of the country’s first democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi by calling for an “independent inquiry.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said he condemned “in the strongest terms” the call by the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, for an independent investigation into Morsi’s death during a court hearing on Monday.

Hafez said it was a “deliberate attempt to politicize a case of natural death.”

Colville called Tuesday for a probe into whether the conditions Morsi faced during his nearly six years in custody had contributed to his death.

“Any sudden death in custody must be followed by a prompt, impartial, thorough and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body to clarify the cause of death,” he said.

“Concerns have been raised regarding the conditions of Mr. Morsi’s detention, including access to adequate medical care, as well as sufficient access to his lawyers and family,” Colville added.

He said the investigation must “encompass all aspects of the authorities’ treatment of Mr. Morsi to examine whether the conditions of his detention had an impact on his death.”

Morsi was toppled by then army chief, now President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi in 2013 after a single divisive year in power. He was later charged with an array of offenses including espionage.

Since his ouster, authorities have waged an ongoing crackdown on dissent of all kinds that has seen thousands of Brotherhood supporters jailed and hundreds facing death sentences.

A group of British parliamentarians in March 2018 warned Morsi’s detention conditions, particularly inadequate treatment for his diabetes and liver disease, could trigger “premature death.”