ANKARA — The Turkish prosecutors on Monday issued an arrest warrant for 53 suspects over their alleged links to a network accused of orchestrating a coup attempt in 2016.
The police have launched raids across 12 provinces as part of the capital Ankara chief prosecutor’s probe into the “establishment” of the Gulen Movement in the Turkish foreign ministry.
The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that 48 of the suspects were earlier dismissed from the ministry due to their contact with the group, five were on active duty, and others included resigned personnel.
They were accused of keeping illicit communication with the “private imams” of the group and leaking exam information of public institutions to them.
The Turkish government accuses the Gulen Movement of infiltrating into the state bureaucracy and then attempting a coup on July 15, 2016.
The movement, which mainly runs schools around the world, is a community of people named after Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who is regarded by followers as a spiritual leader. Ankara accuses U.S.-based Fethullah Gulen of masterminding the attempted coup, in which at least 250 people were killed.
Turkey requests the extradition of Gulen, but Washington is reluctant to extradite the self-exiled Islamic cleric, saying that Ankara has not presented sufficient evidence against him.
The Turkish government has launched a massive crackdown on suspects with links to the network in the aftermath of the coup attempt.