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Turkish police detain 150 soldiers over 2016 failed coup

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Turkish police detained on Tuesday, 23 March, at least 150 soldiers over their alleged links to a network accused of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016.

Police forces launched massive simultaneous operations in 53 provinces upon the order of the chief public prosecutor’s office in Izmir, the state-run Anadolu agency reported.

The attempt was carried out by a faction within the Turkish Armed Forces that organised themselves as the Peace at Home Council whose members could not be identified.

They attempted to seize control of several places in Ankara, Istanbul, Marmaris, and elsewhere, such as the Asian side entrance of the Bosphorus Bridge, but failed to do so after forces loyal to the state defeated them.

The council cited an erosion of secularism, elimination of the democratic rule, disregard for human rights, and Turkey’s loss of credibility in the international arena as reasons for the coup.

The office issued warrants for 184 soldiers in total, the report said, adding that operations are still going on to catch the remaining ones.

The suspects, including 123 soldiers on active duty, have alleged connections with the network headed by the U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, the report said.

Gullen is a Turkish businessman and scholar who lives in Pennsylvania.

The Turkish government blames Gulen and his network for masterminding the coup bid in July 2016, in which 250 people were killed.

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