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Turkey Suspends Police Officers; 12,801 Suspected of Gulen Links

Turkey Suspends Police Officers; 12,801 Suspected of Gulen Links

Turkish riot police take positions in Ankara following coup attempt. (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)

By    |   Wednesday, 05 October 2016 05:54 AM

Turkey suspended 12,801 police officers for suspected connections with Pennsylvania-based Muslin cleric Fethullah Gulen who officials accused of organizing a failed coup against the government.

Authorities said Tuesday the officers were taken off duty as part of the investigation into the coup attempt, reported Agence France-Presse. Of that number, 2,523 receiving suspensions were police chiefs.

The Turkish government said the suspensions represented about five percent of the country's police force, reported Politico. The government on Tuesday also announced an extension of its state of emergency by three months, according to local media.

Turkish authorities have accused Gulen of being the leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, which they are holding responsible for the July 15 coup attempt, according to the Anadolu Agency News Broadcasting System.

"At least 241 people were martyred in the coup attempt, which the government has said was organized by followers of Fetullah Gulen, the leader of FETO," said the broadcasting system. "Gulen is accused of leading a long-running campaign to overthrow the Turkish government through the infiltration of state institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state."

Gulen has been living in self-imposed exile in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania and has denied any role in the July coup, reported The New York Times. Gulen, though, has criticized the Turkish government for what he called the repression of his supporters.

The cleric said the arrests, purges, and dismissals shows the "oppression and tyranny" of the government Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Erdogan has demanded that Gulen be turned over to Turkey and has criticized the United States for not granting his extradition request so far.

"We sent 85 boxes of files — now new files will go, too," Erdogan said. "When America wants a terrorist from us, we immediately pack him up and send him. We do not ask for a court order."

The Times said Turkey arrested Gulen's brother, Kutbettin Gulen, in the western province of Izmir where he had been staying with relatives.

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Turkey suspended 12,801 police officers for suspected connections with Pennsylvania-based Muslin cleric Fethullah Gulen who officials accused of organizing a failed coup against the government.
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2016-54-05
Wednesday, 05 October 2016 05:54 AM
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