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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

Turkey issues detention warrants for 101 soldiers, Hurriyet reports

Authorities have carried out such sweeps against alleged supporters of the cleric Fethullah Gulen on a regular basis

Human rights activists stage a protest outside a court in Istanbul on October 25, 2017. Lefteris Pitarakis / AP
Human rights activists stage a protest outside a court in Istanbul on October 25, 2017. Lefteris Pitarakis / AP

Turkish authorities on Thursday detained 33 members of the air force over alleged links to the US-based cleric Ankara blames for a July 2016 failed military coup, the Hurriyet daily said.

It said those detained were among 101 members of the air force facing arrest in an investigation launched by Ankara prosecutors and spread across 21 other provinces.

Those ordered detained included a brigadier-general and five colonels, Hurriyet added.

Authorities have carried out such sweeps against alleged supporters of the cleric Fethullah Gulen on a regular basis since the coup attempt of July 2016, in which 250 people were killed. Mr Gulen denies involvement.

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Turkey has detained 160,000 people and dismissed nearly the same number of civil servants since the putsch attempt, the UN human rights office said in March. Of that number, more than 50,000 have been formally charged and kept in jail during trial.

Turkey's Western allies have criticised the crackdown.

Critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuse him of using the failed putsch to quash dissent. Turkey says the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.