Published: Thu, May 11, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Germany criticizes mass detentions in Turkey

Germany criticizes mass detentions in Turkey

German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that Germany is closely watching to see how Turkey will respond to reports from worldwide election monitors who noted a series of irregularities in a referendum to increase powers for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish authorities have detained more than a thousand people suspected of having links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Turkish authorities arrested more than 800 people accused of trying to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in one the biggest operations since a failed coup attempt a year ago.

Anadolu said 4,672 suspects were sought in Wednesday's raids - of whom 1,448 are already in jail - meaning that a total of 3,224 arrest warrants were issued.

At least 1,013 have been detained so far in one of the largest operations against the Gulen movement in recent months, according to Anadolu.

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More than 1000 of those who had secretly infiltrated police forces across the country have already been detained, NTV said.

Turkey accuses the Gulen movement of creating a "parallel state structure" over decades, infiltrating the military, police, judiciary, media and other institutions before attempting a coup.

The Turkish government blames Gulen, who now lives in Pennsylvania, for the July coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Following the failed coup in July in which 249 people died, police arrested more than 40,000 people and suspended 120,000 public service workers including soldiers, police officers, teachers and public servants over accusations of links to terrorist groups.

About 8,500 police officers participated in the operation, Anadolu reported.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeatedly blamed the attempted coup on Gulen, who has denied the accusation.

Over the last eight months, Turkish police have been carrying out nationwide operations aiming to detain and arrest anyone in connection with the Fethullah Gulen organization known as FETO.

It was widely expected that the post-coup purge would accelerate once President Erdogan achieved the referendum victory he wanted, the BBC's Istanbul correspondent reports. "This is an important step for the Republic of Turkey", he said.

Turkey's main opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP) said Wednesday it will challenge changes to the voting rules for Turkey's referendum at the European Court of Human Rights.

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