Turkish police detained 73 academics in dawn raids on Friday targeting followers of U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Ankara of orchestrating an attempted coup in July, state-run news agency Anadolu reported. Some 110,000 people have been sacked or suspended in the civil service, army and judiciary and 36,000 people jailed pending trial in the investigation of the failed putsch, in which over 240 people were killed. Gulen denies involvement.
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Istanbul prosecutors issued detention warrants for 103 teaching staff accused of “membership of an armed terror group” in the investigation targeting the city’s Yildiz Technical University, the agency said. Police searched the academics’ homes and offices and the suspects were taken to hospital for routine health checks and then to Istanbul police headquarters, the agency reported.
Some were said to have been users of a smart-phone messaging app called ByLock, which Ankara says Gulen’s followers began using in 2014.
Judicial authorities on Thursday dismissed 203 judges and prosecutors over links to what Ankara terms the “Gulenist Terror Group”. Human rights groups and some Western allies have voiced concern at the scope of the purges, fearing President Tayyip Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to curtail dissent.