Turkey seeks to detain 271 military for alleged coup ties

July 6, 2018
FILE - In this Saturday, June 23, 2018 file photo, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures during an election rally of his ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, in Istanbul. Turkey's Supreme Electoral Council on Wednesday, July 4, 2018 confirmed Erdogan's victory in the June 24 presidential race, declaring that he won 52.59 percent of the votes, paving the way for Erdogan to expand his 15-year rule with expanded powers. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, file)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s state-run news agency says authorities have issued detention warrants for 271 soldiers over their suspected links to U.S.-based cleric who is blamed by Ankara for a failed coup attempt in 2016.

The Anadolu Agency said police Friday launched operations in Istanbul and in 47 provinces across Turkey to detain the suspects who are believed to have been in secret contact with key operatives of cleric Fethullah Gulen’s network.

Gulen denies involvement in the coup attempt.

Anadolu said 122 of the suspects are serving officers. Others include a retired general and dozens of ex-cadets.

Turkey regularly carries out such operations as part of a large-scale government crackdown on Gulen’s movement. Some 50,000 people have been arrested and more than 110,000 others have been dismissed from state jobs since the coup.