Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for nearly 350 people, including soldiers, on suspicion of affiliation to a movement led by US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Ankara government accuses of having masterminded the July 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued warrants for 271 soldiers, 122 of whom are still on active duty, as part of a probe into followers of the self-exiled opposition leader in the Turkish armed forces, Turkey’s official Anadolu news agency reported.
Separately, prosecutors at the Izmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued 75 warrants as part of an investigation into a Gulen “cell inside the armed forces.”
During the botched putsch, a faction of the Turkish military declared that it had seized control of the country and the government of Erdogan was no more in charge. The attempt was, however, suppressed a few hours later.
Ankara has since accused Gulen of having orchestrated the coup. The opposition figure is also accused of being behind a long-running campaign to topple the government via infiltrating the country’s institutions, particularly the army, police and the judiciary.
Gulen has denounced the “despicable putsch” and reiterated that he had no role in it.
“Accusations against me related to the coup attempt are baseless and politically-motivated slanders,” he said in a statement.