As part of an operation targeting suspected followers of the Muslim preacher whom the government blames for a failed coup attempt in 2016, Turkish prosecutors issued arrest warrants for 243 people, including 92 teachers, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Friday.
According to Anadolu, the teachers were targeted in a nationwide operation that took place in 20 provinces. They had previously worked in schools that had been closed because of alleged ties to the preacher Fethullah Gulen.
Authorities issued warrants for 94 people suspected of having ties to the group in two other operations that took place across four dozen provinces, according to the agency.
In addition, the Istanbul chief prosecutor has ordered the detention of 57 people for using ByLock, an encrypted messaging app that the government claims was widely used by Gulen’s network, according to Anadolu.
Ankara claims that Gulen and his network were behind the failed coup attempt in July 2016, which resulted in the deaths of more than 250 people. Gulen has categorically denied any involvement.
Following the coup attempt, more than 50,000 people were imprisoned and more than 150,000 were fired or suspended from their jobs in the military, schools, and other public institutions as part of a sweeping crackdown.
Erdogan’s critics claim that the failed coup is being used as a pretext to suppress dissent. Turkey claims that the strict measures are necessary in light of the security threats the country faces.
A Turkish court sentenced 22 former soldiers to life in prison on Wednesday for their roles in the failed 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
An Ankara court investigated the role of 497 former soldiers, including members of the presidential guard, in its latest mass trial of suspects whose failure to depose Erdogan was followed by a sweeping political crackdown and arrests.
Erdogan accuses retired admirals of threatening a coup attempt in Turkey.
Turkey has detained ten retired admirals in response to government criticism. With Erdogan, EU chiefs express their “deep concerns” about Turkey’s human rights situation.
According to a Turkish minister, the United States was behind the failed coup attempt in 2016: Newspaper
A raid on Turkey’s main state television broadcaster, whose newscaster was forced to read out a statement from the military leaders, was part of the putsch attempt.
A document provided by one of the president’s lawyers to the AFP news agency shows a judge imprisoning 22 former high-ranking military personnel for life.
Former lieutenant colonel Umit Gencer, for example, was found guilty of “violating the constitutional order” by having TRT broadcast a “coup declaration.”