21:07 GMT +312 December 2017
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    U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 29, 2016

    Turkish Prosecutors Issue Hundreds of Arrest Warrants for Alleged Gulen Backers

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    Turkey's Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 144 people in the Turkish Armed Forces on suspicion of ties to the movement of US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, local media reported on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In turn, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 124 people in six provinces because they were using a smartphone application called ByLock, which the authorities believe to be the messenger of choice for Gulen followers, Athe Anadolu news agency reported.

    Arrest warrants were also issued for 33 employees of the Turkish Telecommunications Authority (BTK) and 36 employees of the Capital Markets Board (SPK), which is Turkish financial regulatory authority.

    A military coup attempt took place in Turkey in July 2016. It was quickly quelled by the government, however, over 240 people were killed and about 2,000 were injured. Ankara believes Gulen and his supporters to have masterminded the coup. The cleric has denied the accusations and condemned the attempted coup.

    Following the coup, Turkish authorities introduced a state of emergency for a period of three months, which has since been prolonged several times by the government. Turkish opposition and several EU leaders have criticized the authorities' crackdown on alleged supporters of Gulen and the prolongation of the emergency, claiming that it threatens the rights and freedoms of the country’s citizens.

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    arrest warrants, Fethullah Gulen, Turkey
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