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Turkey detains more than 2,000 people over militant, coup links

EUROPE
By Reuters | March 20th 2017

 

Turkish authorities detained more than 2,000 people over the last week for suspected links to militant groups or last year's failed coup attempt, the interior ministry said on Monday.

Turkey, which faces multiple security threats, including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Islamic State militant group, has also widened a crackdown on alleged supporters of the July coup attempt.

In a statement, the interior ministry said 2,063 people had been detained for questioning in the past week.

A total of 999 of those were suspected of links to the autonomy-seeking PKK, which has carried out a three-decade insurgency against the government and is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States, Turkey and Europe.

Another 966 were detained for suspected ties to the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for orchestrating an attempted coup in July. Gulen denies any involvement and has condemned the coup.

Seventy people were detained over alleged links to Islamic State, while 28 more were held for suspected ties to "leftist terrorist groups", the ministry said.

The ministry also said 24 militants had been "neutralised" in operations over the past week, and of those, 13 killed. It did not give further details.

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Following the July 15 coup, Turkey has arrested more than 40,000 people and sacked or suspended more than 100,000 in the military, civil service and private sector.

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