Turkey orders 176 soldiers detained over ties to cleric

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied any involvement in the attempted coup. (File/AFP)
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Updated 14 January 2020

Turkey orders 176 soldiers detained over ties to cleric

  • The latest police operation was coordinated from the western city of Izmir
  • Six F-16 warplane pilots were among those set to be detained

ISTANBUL: Turkish prosecutors on Tuesday ordered 176 soldiers detained over suspected links to the network that Ankara says was behind a coup attempt three-and-a-half years ago, state-owned Anadolu news agency reported.
Suspected followers of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen have been targeted in a sustained crackdown since a failed putsch in July 2016 in which some 250 people were killed. Operations against the network are still routine.
The latest police operation was coordinated from the western city of Izmir and targeted people in 49 provinces, Anadolu said. It said those facing arrest included 143 lieutenants, 97 of them serving, and 33 junior lieutenants, 11 of them serving.
Six F-16 warplane pilots were among those set to be detained, it added.
Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied any involvement in the attempted coup.
In the subsequent purge, around 80,000 people have been jailed pending trial and some 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others sacked or suspended from their jobs.
Turkey’s Western allies and rights groups have criticized the scale of the crackdown, while Ankara has defended the measures as a necessary response to the security threat.


Yemenis should not be punished for Houthi wrongdoings, say officials

Yemenis walk in a busy market in the capital Sanaa's old city, on February 25, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 19 min 13 sec ago

Yemenis should not be punished for Houthi wrongdoings, say officials

  • Yemeni officials said a suspension or reduction of aid in northern Yemen would aggravate the humanitarian crisis, and that civilians would pay the price

AL-MUKALLA: Needy Yemenis should not be punished for Houthi actions targeting humanitarian operations in the war-torn country and the UN should divert its activities to government-controlled areas, officials said.
Yemen’s Minister of Human Rights Mohammed Asker said international aid organizations had a duty to make sure that help reached those who needed it.
“The (international) organizations have a legal and moral responsibility when they request support for the needy in Yemen, to make sure that the donors’ money does not go to buying bullets that kill Yemeni children,” the minister told Arab News, adding that humanitarian operations inside Houthi-controlled areas had become a breeding ground for corruption due to a lack of transparency and accountability. “This is the net result of dealing with parties outside the framework of the state.”
His warning came as the UN threatened to reduce its operations in northern Yemen due to Houthi obstruction. USAID said it would suspend aid to Houthi-controlled areas if the militants did not leave aid workers alone.
Yemeni officials said a suspension or reduction of aid in northern Yemen would aggravate the humanitarian crisis, and that civilians would pay the price.
Jamal Balfakeh, the general coordinator of Yemen’s Higher Relief, an Aden-based government body responsible for handling humanitarian activities, said the international community should punish Houthis by relocating offices to Aden and dispatching aid through government-controlled areas.

HIGHLIGHT

Yemen’s warning came as the UN threatened to reduce its operations in northern Yemen due to Houthi obstruction.

“The UN should punish the real perpetrators not civilians,” he told Arab News, “and the greatest punishment is moving their operations to government-controlled areas. The UN can bring in aid through 22 sea and land corridors.”
He said that reports about the Houthi mishandling of aid and the militant group’s obstruction vindicated the government’s demand for the UN to investigate corruption.
“We have been warning the international community about the Houthi looting of aid since the first six months of the war,” Balfakeh added. “We have provided them with detailed reports about the scale of the Houthi plundering of aid and told them that Houthis divert aid to their fighters.” Yemen’s ambassador to the US, Ahmed bin Mubarak, said that UN officials used to complain in private about Houthi pressure.
“UN officials used to complain that Houthis attacked and blackmailed their workers,” he said. “But they could not confront the Houthis in public as they might disrupt aid.”
He said the government was pleased that UN and media reports reflected concerns about the flow of arms from Iran and the Houthi looting of humanitarian aid.