Turkey seeks to detain over 300 for alleged Gulen ties

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested over suspected links to Gulen since 2016. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Turkey seeks to detain over 300 for alleged Gulen ties

  • Tens of thousands of people have been arrested over suspected links to Gulen since 2016
  • More than 760 people were detained last week in operations across 76 provinces of Turkey’s 81 provinces, although 122 suspects were later freed under judicial supervision

ANKARA: Turkish police on Tuesday launched raids to detain over 300 people, including military personnel, suspected of ties to a group blamed for a 2016 coup bid, state media reported.
Prosecutors in Turkey’s three biggest provinces — Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir — issued arrest warrants for 324 people as part of different probes into followers of US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, the private DHA and the Anadolu state news agency said.
Turkey accuses Gulen of ordering the abortive bid to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 15, 2016 but he strongly denies the claim.
The Istanbul public prosecutor sought the arrest of 53 active duty soldiers in 15 provinces, including in the metropolis, Anadolu reported.
In the Aegean province of Izmir, the public prosecutor issued 182 arrest warrants with police conducting raids across 42 provinces, including Izmir, DHA reported.
The capital’s public prosecutor said it issued 89 arrest warrants in two separate probes including one looking at the gendarmerie, which is in charge of domestic security.
The Ankara prosecutor’s office said 30 suspects had already been detained.
The operations against alleged members of Gulen’s movement have increased in recent months.
More than 760 people were detained last week in operations across 76 provinces of Turkey’s 81 provinces, although 122 suspects were later freed under judicial supervision.
Sixteen other suspects were released, according to the Ankara public prosecutor’s office.
Tens of thousands of people have been arrested over suspected links to Gulen since 2016.
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended from the public sector.
Despite criticism from Western allies and human rights defenders over the scale of the crackdown, the police operations and probes continue with rigour.
Turkish officials insist that the raids are necessary to remove the “virus” caused by the Gulen movement’s infiltration of Turkish state bodies.


Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

Updated 36 min 45 sec ago
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Israel cuts Gaza fishing limit after fire balloons

  • Israel reduced the fishing limit to 10 nautical miles
  • The countries agreed to 20 nautical miles in the Oslo accords of 1990s

JERUSALEM: Israel reduced the offshore fishing limits it imposes for vessels operating out of Gaza from Thursday after Palestinians floated balloons fitted with incendiaries over the border, officials said.
The cut came just two days after Israel restored the limits to those set in April ahead of an Israeli general election.
“A decision was taken this Wednesday evening to reduce the fishing zone off the Gaza Strip to 10 nautical miles until further notice,” said COGAT, the defense ministry unit that oversees such regulations.
“The decision was taken after the launch of incendiary balloons from Gaza toward Israel,” it added.
Palestinians in Gaza have frequently floated balloons fitted with firebombs over the border to damage Israeli property and have in the past succeeded in setting fire to large areas of farmland.
Israel banned fishing completely when two days of deadly violence erupted earlier this month, but lifted the ban with a restriction of up to 12 nautical miles following a truce.
The 15-nautical-mile limit that had been restored on Tuesday was the largest allowed in years by Israel, which has fought three wars with Palestinian militants in the enclave and has blockaded it for more than a decade.
But human rights activists note that it still falls short of the 20 nautical miles agreed under the Oslo accords of the 1990s.
Israeli authorities have not said whether the 15-mile limit was one of the understandings reached as part of the May 6 cease-fire in Gaza but Israel media reported on Monday that it was.
The additional nautical miles are important to Gaza fishermen as they bring more valuable, deeper water species within reach.
Four Israeli civilians and 25 Palestinians, including at least nine militants, were killed in this month’s exchanges across the border.