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Turkey orders detention of 140 people over Gulen links

Arrests seen as part of crackdown against suspected network of US-based figure blamed for failed 2016 coup attempt.

Gulen links

Turkish prosecutors have ordered the detention of 140 people, including serving army officers, over alleged links to the US-based religious leader Fethullah Gulen, according to an Anadolu news agency report.

Police launched simultaneous operations in 34 provinces across the country for 70 serving army members in a probe led by state prosecutors in the central province of Konya, Anadolu said.

It said the suspects were targeted based on statements by soldiers previously detained over ties to Gulen.

The Turkish government says Gulen orchestrated the failed coup on July 15, 2016, in Turkey which killed 250 people - mostly civilians - and left nearly 2,200 injured.

Gulen has rejected the accusations.

Turkey also accuses Gulen's group of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

READ MORE: Turkey suspends 9,000 police officers for 'Gulen links'

Eighteen suspects from the Turkish navy have also been arrested over suspected links to Gulen, a judicial source said on Friday.

The 18 are among 70 officers, ex-officers, and civilian workers and officials sought by warrants, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Istanbul prosecutors issued the warrants after examining digital documents seized from a suspect.

The warrants include 15 naval officers, including 11 on duty, as well as civilian officials and teachers, the source said.

An inquiry based on the digital documents is ongoing, the source said.

On Thursday, Turkish police arrested another 58 suspects for their alleged links to Gulen.

Since the attempted coup of July 2016, Turkish authorities have detained 160,000 people and dismissed nearly the same number of civil servants, according to the UN human rights office.

Turkey says the arrests are necessary to combat threats to national security.

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