Turkey orders detention of 120 army personnel over Gulen links

ISTANBUL - A Turkish prosecutor issued detention warrants for 120 suspects from the military, the state-run Anadolu agency said on Thursday, the latest in a long-running government crackdown launched after a failed coup attempt in 2016.

Police began simultaneous raids in 43 provinces to capture the suspects, 58 of whom were believed to be users of the outlawed ByLock messaging app, Anadolu said.

Turkey banned ByLock following the attempted putsch, saying followers of the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen used it communicate on the night of the coup, when rogue soldiers commandeered tanks and warplanes to attack parliament, killing more than 240 people.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has denied involvement and condemned the coup.

More than 50,000 people have been jailed pending trial over alleged links to Gulen, while 150,000 people have been sacked or suspended from jobs in the military, public and private sectors.

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 institutions such as the judiciary, army and schools.