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Turkey Orders Arrest of 85 Ministry Staff

Turkey Orders Arrest of 85 Ministry StaffTurkey Orders Arrest of 85 Ministry Staff

Turkish prosecutors ordered the arrest of 85 staff at the energy and education ministries under an investigation targeting the network of a US-based cleric whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating last July’s attempted coup, the online news portal Middle East Eye reported on Tuesday.

No further details were immediately available.

Some 50,000 people have been formally arrested as part of investigations targeting supporters of Fethullah Gulen, while 120,000 others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is visiting Washington, is seeking Gulen’s extradition, since the botched July 2016 putsch, Erdogan’s government has purged Gulenists and other rivals, frozen their bank accounts and confiscated passports.

Last month, Erdogan declared victory in a referendum to grant him sweeping powers and conduct a major overhaul of Turkish politics. Overseas, Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization has tracked down members of what it calls the Fetullah Terrorist Organization.

Erdogan has also urged the US, its NATO ally, to extradite Gulen, 75, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999 and Ankara has supplied documents that it says show Gulen masterminded the coup–a charge the cleric denies.

 

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