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.


Algeria opposition propose six-month political transition

Updated 31 min 39 sec ago
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Algeria opposition propose six-month political transition

  • The roadmap stipulates the creation of a ‘presidential body’ that would run the country during the transition period
  • Algeria’s opposition however has been marginalized by the protest movement

ALGIERS: A group of Algerian opposition parties and unions proposed on Saturday a “roadmap” to end a political crisis and weeks of protests sparked by the veteran president’s bid to stay in power.

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika said on February 22 he would run for a fifth term in April 18 elections, despite concerns about his ability to rule, triggering an outcry in the country which has since been gripped by demonstrations.

The 82-year-old, who uses a wheelchair and has rarely appeared in public since suffering a stroke in 2013, earlier this month said he would pull out of the race.

But he also postponed the elections, meaning he will stay in power until polls are held.

Bouteflika’s current mandate expires on April 28 and proposals agreed at a meeting between opposition parties and unions call for a six-month transition period from that date.

The roadmap stipulates the creation of a “presidential body” that would run the country during the transition period and which would be comprised of “national figures known for their credibility, integrity and competence.”

But members of the body should not run in future presidential elections nor back any candidates in the poll, the statement seen by AFP said.

The proposals were made during a meeting attended namely by the party of Bouteflika’s key rival Ali Benflis, a former prime minister who has joined the opposition, and the main Islamist party, the Movement for the Society of Peace.

Algeria’s opposition however has been marginalized by the protest movement, which has been largely led by students angry with the country’s political system.

The proposals come a day after hundreds of thousands of Algerians demonstrated nationwide for a fifth consecutive Friday, demanding that Bouteflika stand down and calling for regime change.

On Saturday, around 1,000 lawyers rallied in the capital Algiers chanting “we’re fed up” with this government and calling on the political system to “go away.”