Turkey seeks nearly 150 arrests over Gulen ties

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to Fetullah Gulen since the failed 2016 coup while over 100,000 have been sacked or suspended from the public sector. (AFP)
Updated 04 January 2019
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Turkey seeks nearly 150 arrests over Gulen ties

  • Prosecutors in Istanbul, Konya and Ankara issued arrest warrants for 137 people
  • Turkish officials stress that the operations are necessary to remove the ‘virus’ caused by the Gulen movement’s infiltration of key institutions

ANKARA: Turkish police on Friday launched nationwide raids to detain nearly 150 people, including military personnel, suspected of ties to the group blamed for the 2016 attempted coup, local media reported.
Prosecutors in Istanbul, Konya and Ankara issued arrest warrants for 137 people as part of different investigations into followers of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, state news agency Anadolu and NTV broadcaster reported.
Turkey has claimed that Gulen ordered the coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 15, 2016 — a charge he vehemently denies.
The raids were spread across more than 30 provinces including Ankara where the public prosecutor issued detention warrants for 35 non-commissioned officers in the navy including 10 still in active duty.
Tens of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to Gulen since 2016 while over 100,000 have been sacked or suspended from the public sector.
Although Ankara has been criticized by human rights defenders and its Western allies over the scale of the crackdown, the nationwide raids have continued in recent weeks.
Turkish officials stress that the operations are necessary to remove the “virus” caused by the Gulen movement’s infiltration of key Turkish institutions.


US accuses Iran of destabilizing Mideast with missile program

Updated 20 March 2019
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US accuses Iran of destabilizing Mideast with missile program

  • Cites Iran’s support to the Houthi movement in Yemen and to Hezbollah in Lebanon
  • Says Iran's ballistic missile test and satellite launches violated UN Security Council resolution

JEDDAH: Iran’s missile program is destabilizing the Middle East, and Tehran risks starting a regional arms race by supplying weapons to armed groups in Lebanon and Yemen, a senior US arms control official said on Tuesday.

“Iran must immediately cease activities related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, and halt the proliferation of missiles and missile technology to terror groups and other non-state actors,” Yleem Poblete, assistant secretary of state for arms control, verification and compliance, said in a speech to the UN-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, Switzerland.

“Iran’s missile program is a key contributor to increased tensions and destabilization in the region, increasing the risk of a regional arms race,” she said, denouncing Iran’s support to the Houthi movement in Yemen and to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

She said Iran had provided ballistic missiles to the Houthis that were fired into Saudi Arabia and unmanned aerial systems to Houthi groups that enable strikes against land-based targets in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “We are committed to aggressively countering Iran’s regional proliferation of ballistic missiles and its unlawful arms transfers,” she said.

US President Donald Trump said when he quit the 2015 deal that lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear activities that the agreement failed to rein in Iran’s missile program or curb its regional meddling.

The US has accused Iran of defying a UN Security Council resolution by carrying out a ballistic missile test and two satellite launches since December.

Poblete urged “all responsible countries” to enforce UN Security Council resolutions restricting the transfer of missile-related technologies to Iran. She also accused Iran of “pursuing pharmaceutical-based agents for offensive purposes,” but did not provide details.

Harvard scholar and Iranian affairs expert Dr. Majid Rafizadeh said Iran had the largest ballistic program in the Middle East. “Through its ballistic missile program, the Iranian regime appears determined to escalate tensions in the region and seek every opportunity to project its power in order to reassert its hegemony,” he said. “The international community ought to hold Tehran accountable for its military adventurism and violations of international standards.”