Turkey Detains 800 People Over Suspected Links To U.S.-Based Cleric

Turkey Detains 800 People Over Suspected Links To U.S.-Based Cleric

Turkish authorities detained 800 people overnight suspected of links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, security sources said on Wednesday (April 26), in one of the largest operations in months against the network which Turkey blames for a failed July coup last year.

Video from Dogan news agency showed some of the suspects, men and women, being escorted by police towards a courthouse each being led by an individual officer.

The sources said the crackdown targeted the network's structure in the police force. Detention orders had been issued for 1,000 people, of which 803 had been detained, the sources said, in operations carried out across all 81 of Turkey's provinces.

The latest arrests come 10 days after a tightly contested referendum approved the expansion of President Tayyip Erdogan's powers, according to preliminary results.

On April 2, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu announced that Turkish security forces had arrested 113,260 people and remanded another 47,155 over suspected links to the Gulen movement since the July 2016 coup attempt.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and the government accuse Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating a failed military takeover on July 15 2016 in which at least 232 people were killed, and have called in speeches for his extradition from the United States.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, denies the charges and denounced the coup.