ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey has ordered the detention of 304 members of the military in an operation targeting the group that the government claims to be behind a 2016 coup attempt, state-run media reported Tuesday.
The Anadolu news agency said an investigation led by prosecutors in the western city of Izmir targeted suspects, including five colonels, in the army and air force across 50 provinces.
More than 285 people were killed in the failed July 2016 coup attempt, which Ankara says was organized by the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. Gulen, who lives in the United States, denies involvement in the attempt.
But a clampdown on his followers has seen 292,000 people detained, of which 96,000 have been jailed pending trial, over the last four years. More than 130,000 people have been fired from public service jobs through emergency decrees, among them teachers and police officers.
Critics say the arrests and dismissals have also targeted the wider opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government under Turkey’s broad anti-terror laws.
Anadolu said the Izmir operation was the largest against armed forces’ personnel in terms of the number and rank of the suspects.