Turkey's prosecutor office has ordered the arrest of 295 serving military personnel accused of ties with an alleged network led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says orchestrated a 2016 attempted coup.
The prosecutor's statement issued on February 22 says that those facing detention included three colonels, eight majors, and 10 lieutenants. About half of the suspects are members of the army, with the remainder serving in other military forces including the navy and air force, the statement said.
Police launched simultaneous arrest operations one hour after midnight under an investigation into payphone calls between suspected Gulen operatives, the statement said. It was not immediately known how many suspects have been arrested so far.
Gulen has denied any involvement in the July 15, 2016, failed coup, during which 250 people were killed. Gulen, a former ally of President Tayyip Erdogan, has been living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999.
More than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial since the attempted coup. Authorities have suspended or dismissed 150,000 civil servants and military personnel.
Erdogan has been accused of using the failed coup as a pretext to stifle dissent.