Turkey issues detention warrants for 167 over suspected Gulen links

Turkey issues detention warrants for 167 over suspected Gulen links
US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen denied involvement in the July 2016 putsch, in which some 250 people were killed. (Reuters)
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Updated 13 October 2020

Turkey issues detention warrants for 167 over suspected Gulen links

Turkey issues detention warrants for 167 over suspected Gulen links
  • The detentions were the latest in a four-year-old crackdown targeting the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen

ANKARA: Turkish police detained dozens of people on Tuesday in a search for 167 suspects, many of them active duty soldiers, in a move against supporters of a Muslim preacher the government accuses of organizing a failed coup in 2016, state media reported.
The detentions were the latest in a four-year-old crackdown targeting the network of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. He denies involvement in the July 2016 putsch, in which some 250 people were killed.
Authorities launched an operation from the coastal province of Izmir in search of 110 suspects, including 16 pilots, colonels, and lieutenant colonels, across 26 provinces, broadcaster TRT Haber said. It said 89 suspects had been detained.
In a separate operation targeting Gulen’s followers, police sought 57 other suspects across 15 provinces, the state-owned Anadolu news agency said, adding that 32 people had been detained.
Police spokesmen were not immediately available for comment.
Since the abortive putsch, some 80,000 people have been held pending trial and about 150,000 civil servants, military personnel and others sacked or suspended. More than 20,000 people had been expelled from the Turkish military.
Rights groups and Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the scale of the crackdown, saying the government was using it as a pretext to quash dissent.
The government has denied the accusation, saying the measures are necessary for national security.


Syrian White Helmets given funds to make PPE 

Syrian White Helmets given funds to make PPE 
Updated 7 min 26 sec ago

Syrian White Helmets given funds to make PPE 

Syrian White Helmets given funds to make PPE 
  • With millions living in tents across country’s northwest, threat of COVID-19 is severe
  • $1.6m awarded by non-profit organization funded by UK, US, Canadian, Dutch governments

LONDON: Syria’s White Helmets, the civilian rescue group that recovers victims from rubble after airstrikes in the war-torn country, is now making personal protective equipment (PPE) to further its life-saving mission.
The civil defense service, which has worked to reduce the harm of indiscriminate shelling from the Assad regime, has received a $1.6 million award for the production of PPE from a non-profit organization funded by the UK, US, Canadian and Dutch governments.
Funds from the Humanitarian Grand Challenge group have led to the creation of a PPE-producing facility that has manufactured some 2 million masks.
It is also producing protective gowns and face shields — key equipment in the fight against COVID-19 — and handling the disposal of used PPE for northwest Syria’s population, who live in a precarious area that is predominantly out of the regime’s control. 
“The COVID-19 pandemic was the most difficult challenge the White Helmets faced in 2020,” said Munir Mustafa, its deputy general manager for humanitarian affairs.
“We witnessed the spread of the virus in north-western Syria among humanitarian workers and medical personnel, while the global pandemic made cross-borders logistics almost impossible.”
The White Helmets has enhanced community efforts to keep people safe from COVID-19 amid pressing security challenges.
“Our volunteers and fellow humanitarians, health care providers and other essential workers are safer now and can continue caring for Syrian civilians and responding to the pandemic,” Mustafa said.
The White Helmets, established in 2014, was originally formed for search-and-rescue efforts and to broaden the provision of first responders. It claims to have saved some 120,000 lives.
Its role has developed as challenges facing the Syrian people have grown. Violence in the country has demolished health care facilities, decimating communities and cutting off millions from crucial medical care. 
The bombing of civilian areas has forced many to flee to temporary refugee facilities that are often cramped and in poor condition.
With millions living in tents across the country’s northwest, the threat of COVID-19 is severe.
Around 500 cases of COVID-19 are being recorded per day in northwest Syria, but experts say the true number is much higher due to inadequate testing infrastructure.
The Humanitarian Grand Challenge said: “The White Helmets’ ability to manufacture and distribute personal protective equipment inside Syria will not only protect those working in the overwhelmed health system, but reduce the spread of the virus among the most vulnerable.”