Turkey orders 70 army officers detained over Gulen links

Police launched operations in 38 provinces across the country

epa06090512 A handout photo made available by the Presidential Press Office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) greeting his supporters during a ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the failed Coup attempt on 15 July, in front of the new monument of martyrs at Presidential Palace in Ankara, Turkey early 16 July 2017. The 15 July 2017 events marked the first anniversary of the failed coup attempt which led to some 50 thousand workers being dismissed, some eight thousand people arrested, and scores of news outlets shut down by the government. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed US-based Turkish cleric Fetullah Gulen and his movement for masterminding the failed coup and Turkey remains under a state of emergency as a result.  EPA/PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE HANDOUT  HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Turkish prosecutors ordered the detention of 70 serving army officers on Thursday over alleged links to the US-based preacher accused of orchestrating an attempted coup in 2016, CNN Turk reported.

Police launched simultaneous operations in 38 provinces across the country in a probe led by state prosecutors in the central Turkish province of Konya, the broadcaster said.

The suspects were targeted based on statements by soldiers previously detained over ties to the cleric Fethullah Gulen and were believed to have been responsible for recruiting students for Mr Gulen's movement.

Earlier this month, the UN human rights office said that Turkey has detained 160,000 people and dismissed nearly the same number of civil servants since the failed coup in July 2016, which Ankara blames on Mr Gulen. He denies any involvement.

Among those detained, more than 50,000 have been formally charged and kept in jail during trial.

Turkey's Western allies have criticised the crackdown. Critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accuse him of using the failed putsch as a pretext to quash dissent.

In response, Turkey says the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.