Turkey detains more than 700 over alleged links to coup bid

Soldiers involved in the 2016 coup surrender on a bridge over the Bosphorus. (Getty Images)
Updated 12 February 2019

Turkey detains more than 700 over alleged links to coup bid

  • Officials had sent to authorities in 75 provinces the names of 1,112 people under investigation over suspected ties to US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and his movement
  • The Ankara public prosecutor’s office, which leads the coup investigation, said 130 people on the list of suspects were deputy police chiefs still on active duty

ANKARA: Turkish authorities detained 729 people in nationwide raids Tuesday over alleged links to a group blamed for a failed coup in 2016, the Ankara public prosecutor’s office said.
Officials had sent to authorities in 75 provinces the names of 1,112 people under investigation over suspected ties to US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen and his movement, it said.
Gulen is accused of ordering the attempted putsch, a claim he strongly denies.
Forty-five of those arrested were in the capital Ankara, a judicial source, who did not wish to be named, told AFP.
“We do not know whether the provincial authorities detained or summoned all of the individuals whose names were given,” the source added.
The Ankara public prosecutor’s office, which leads the coup investigation, said 130 people on the list of suspects were deputy police chiefs still on active duty.
They are suspected of having obtained questions before sitting the 2010 exam to become inspectors, it added in a statement.
Turkish officials defend the crackdown by pointing to what it describes as the Gulen group’s “virus”-like infiltration of key institutions, including the police.
Members of the movement are accused of cheating on entry exams to gain access to important public bodies.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Sunday that authorities “were planning a big operation” against the movement.
“Devils wouldn’t even conduct the tricks that they did,” Soylu said, adding that Turkey would “finish them off in this country.”
There have been regular raids across Turkey in recent weeks against alleged members of the movement, despite criticism from human rights defenders and Ankara’s Western allies over the scale of the crackdown.
Tens of thousands of people have been taken into custody over suspected links to Gulen since 2016 while over 100,000 — including teachers, police officers, and judges — have been sacked or suspended from the public sector.
Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said last month that 31,088 people have been convicted or jailed over suspected Gulen links.


Iran condemns US show of support for ‘rioters’

Updated 18 November 2019

Iran condemns US show of support for ‘rioters’

  • Protests erupted in Iran on Friday, hours after it was announced the price of petrol would rise to 15,000 rials a liter
  • ‘The dignified people of Iran know well that such hypocritical remarks do not carry any honest sympathy’

TEHRAN: Iran condemned the United States’ support for “rioters” in a statement issued late Sunday, after two days of violent protests in the Islamic republic against a petrol price hike.
The foreign ministry said that it was reacting to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “expression of support... for a group of rioters in some cities of Iran and condemned such support and interventionist remarks.”
Protests erupted in Iran on Friday, hours after it was announced the price of petrol would rise to 15,000 rials a liter (12 US cents) from 10,000 for the first 60 liters and to 30,000 rials for any extra fuel bought after that each month.
In a tweet on Saturday, Pompeo said in response to the demonstrations that “the United States is with you.”
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi slammed his comments in Sunday night’s statement.
“The dignified people of Iran know well that such hypocritical remarks do not carry any honest sympathy,” Mousavi was quoted as saying.
“The acts of a rioter and saboteur group supported by the likes of (Pompeo) have no congruity with the conduct of the wise Iranian people.”
The statement blasted Washington’s “ill-intent” over its decision to reimpose sanctions on Tehran after the US withdrawal in May last year from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
“It’s curious that the sympathizing is being done with the people who are under the pressure of America’s economic terrorism,” Mousavi said.