Turkish prosecutors issued detention warrants for 54 people over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, a religious group accused by Ankara of instigating a coup attempt in 2016, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported Tuesday.
Police launched simultaneous raids in 19 provinces across the country upon the order of the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, Anadolu said.
People targeted in the raids included 42 ex-cadets from military schools shut down after the failed coup, according to Bold Medya.
Twenty-three of them have thus far been detained, Anadolu reported.
The Turkish government accuses the group inspired by US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen of masterminding the coup attempt in July 2016, in which 251 people were killed, and designates it as a terrorist organization. Gülen and the group deny any involvement in the abortive putsch.
Critics accuse Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who embarked on a massive crackdown on the opposition after the coup attempt, of using the incident as a pretext to quash dissent.
As part of the crackdown, Erdoğan dismissed some 150,000 public servants, including members of the armed forces, police officers, teachers, doctors and academics, by emergency decree-laws, locking up tens of thousands and seizing their assets. More than 500,000 people were investigated, and half of them were detained or arrested on trumped-up terrorism charges.