Turkey orders detention of 216 people in post-coup probe: Anadolu

US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, US July 10, 2017. (Reuters/Charles Mostoller)
Updated 22 November 2017
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Turkey orders detention of 216 people in post-coup probe: Anadolu

ANKARA: Turkish authorities have issued detention warrants for 216 people, including former finance ministry personnel, suspected of having links to last year’s failed coup attempt, the state-run Anadolu news agency said on Wednesday.
It said 17 former finance ministry personnel had been detained so far and another 65 were sought over alleged links to Gulen’s network, Anadolu said.
Separately, authorities carried out operations across 40 provinces targeting “private imams” believed to be recruiting members to the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen from Turkey’s armed forces.
Ankara blames Gulen for orchestrating the July 15 coup attempt last year and has repeatedly demanded the United States extradite him, so far in vain. Gulen denies involvement.
In the aftermath of the coup, more than 50,000 people have been jailed pending trial and some 150,000 have been sacked or suspended from their jobs in the military, public and private sector.
The extent of the purges has unnerved rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies, who fear President Tayyip Erdogan is using the abortive putsch as a pretext to stifle dissent.
The government, however, says the measures are necessary due to the gravity of the threats it is facing following the military coup attempt, in which 240 people were killed.


Hundreds of Syrian ‘White Helmets’ evacuated by Israel to Jordan

Updated 18 min 30 sec ago
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Hundreds of Syrian ‘White Helmets’ evacuated by Israel to Jordan

  • Israeli military said it had completed “a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization and their families ... due to an immediate threat to their lives”
  • The evacuation came at the request of the US and several European countries

JERUSALEM: About 800 members of Syria’s White Helmets civil defense group and their families were evacuated via Israel to Jordan on Sunday from southwest Syria, where a Russian-backed Syrian government offensive is under way, media said.
In a statement, the Israeli military said it had completed “a humanitarian effort to rescue members of a Syrian civil organization and their families ... due to an immediate threat to their lives.”
It said they were transferred to a neighboring country, which it did not identify, and that the evacuation came at the request of the United States and several European countries.
Israeli media identified the Syrians as belonging to the White Helmets organization. Officially called the Syrian Civil Defense but known by their distinctive white helmets, the group has operated a rescue service in rebel-held parts of Syria.
Jordan’s official Petra news agency said on its website the kingdom “authorized the United Nations to organize the passage of about 800 Syrian citizens through Jordan for resettlement in Western countries.”
The agency identified the Syrians as civil defense workers who fled areas controlled by the Syrian opposition after attacks there by the Syrian army.
Petra said they would remain in a closed area in Jordan and that Britain, Germany and Canada had agreed to resettle them within three months.
The Syrian military, backed by a Russian air campaign, has been pushing into the edges of Quneitra province following an offensive last month that routed rebels in adjoining Daraa province who were once backed by Washington, Jordan and Gulf states.
The offensive has restored Syrian government control over a swathe of the southwest, strategic territory at the borders with Jordan and Israel.