Turkey orders arrest of 249 foreign ministry staff in post-coup probe

People take over a tank near the Fatih Sultan Mehmet bridge during clashes with military forces in Istanbul in this photo on July 16, 2016. (AFP)
Updated 20 May 2019

Turkey orders arrest of 249 foreign ministry staff in post-coup probe

  • Authorities have carried out regular operations against the alleged followers of Fethullah Gulen
  • The US-based cleric is accused of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016

ANKARA: Turkish authorities ordered the arrest of 249 foreign ministry personnel over suspected links to the network of a US-based cleric accused of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016, broadcaster NTV said on Monday.
Authorities have carried out regular operations against the alleged followers of Fethullah Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, since the failed coup attempt on the night of July 15, 2016. Gulen denies allegations he was behind it.
The Ankara chief prosecutor’s office said it ordered the arrest of 249 members of Turkey’s foreign ministry after investigations found that they had committed irregularities in the ministry’s past entrance exams, NTV reported.
It said 78 suspects had been detained so far in operations across 43 provinces and that police were seeking the rest.
More than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial, while some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others have been sacked or suspended from their jobs as part of the post-coup purges.
Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have voiced concerns over the crackdown, saying President Tayyip Erdogan has used the abortive putsch as a pretext to quash dissent. The government has said the security measures were necessary due to the gravity of the threat Turkey faces.


Algeria to go the polls on December 12, says interim president

Updated 15 September 2019

Algeria to go the polls on December 12, says interim president

ALGIERS: Algeria — whose president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in April following mass protests — is to hold a presidential election on December 12, his interim successor announced Sunday.

"I have decided... that the date of the presidential election will be Thursday, December 12," said Abdelkader Bensalah, who is precluded from standing himself, in a televised address.

The announcement comes after army chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah, seen as the strongman in Algeria since the fall of Bouteflika, insisted that polls be held by the end of this year, despite ongoing protests demanding the creation of new institutions ahead of any elections.