Turkey detains 51 teachers over suspected links to coup

November 20, 2017 12:36
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ISTANBUL - Turkish authorities on Monday issued arrest warrants for 107 teachers for suspected ties to the US-based cleric Ankara blames for orchestrating last year's coup, the Dogan news agency said.

Fifty-one of the teachers were detained in Ankara after the local prosecutor issued the warrants, Dogan said, adding that operations continued to round-up the remaining teachers.The teachers were previously suspended from their jobs as part of the ongoing crackdown that followed the attempted coup in July 2016, it said.

Turkey blames Fethullah Gulen, a cleric who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, for last year's failed coup. Gulen has denied any involvement and denounced the coup.

More than 50,000 people have been jailed pending trial in the crackdown, while 150,000 people, including military personnel, teachers and public servants, have been sacked or suspended from their jobs.

The government dismisses rights groups' concerns about the crackdown, saying only such a purge could neutralize the threat represented by Gulen's network, which it says infiltrated the judiciary, army, schools and other institutions.

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