‘32,000 arrested in Turkey for Gulen links’
The Turkish Justice Department says it has arrested 32,000 people for suspected links to opposition leader Fethullah Gulen, whose extradition from the US has been a top demand by Ankara and a major source of tensions with Washington.
The Justice Department arrested 32,000 people in its investigation of the Gulen movement, Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Wednesday in reference to a perceived deep state run by Gulen supporters.
Ankara also claims that the US-based opposition leader orchestrated the failed coup d’etat in Turkey on July 15. Gulen has dismissed that allegation.
“A total of about 70,000 people have faced legal proceedings on suspicion of links” to Gulen, Bozdag also said.
The 75-year-old Gulen claims the wide-scale purge by the Ankara government is aimed at eliminating dissent and consolidating the ruling Justice and Development Party’s control.
Bozdag, the Turkish justice minister, added that the Justice Department was also building a new courthouse in the town of Sincan, near the capital, Ankara, with more prisons needed to contain all of Gulen’s followers implicated in the coup plot.
He also said US officials have vowed to respond to Turkey’s demand to arrest and extradite Gulen within a couple of days.
Turkey has dismissed or suspended tens of thousands of government employees in the military, police, judiciary and the education ministry, as well as 87 staff members of the National Intelligence Organization, known as the MIT, as part of its post-coup purge.