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Hundreds more held in Turkey over suspected links to US cleric Gulen

Police launched simultaneous operations across Turkey on Wednesday, detaining hundreds of people with suspected links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said 1,009 people have been held so far in raids in all of the country's 81 provinces, describing it as an "important step" towards the government's aim of "bringing down" the Gulen movement.

The suspects are allegedly Gulen operatives who directed followers within the police force.

Mr Soylu said the individuals allegedly "infiltrated the police, tried to lead it from the outside by forming an alternative (police) structure, (by) ignoring the state".

Some 8,500 police officers participated in the operation, the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

The detentions are part of a widespread crackdown following last summer's failed coup attempt, which Turkey says was orchestrated by Gulen's movement.

More than 47,000 people have been arrested since the coup, Mr Soylu has said, including some 10,700 police officers and 7,400 military personnel.

Gulen has denied orchestrating the coup. Turkey is pressing the United States to extradite him.



From Belfast Telegraph