Ankara, Oct 27: Turkey on Thursday issued arrest warrants against 73 army pilots suspected of having ties with Islamic preacher Fetullah Gulen who was accused by the government of being the mastermind of the country’s failed attempted coup last July. The pilots are allegedly accused of rebelling against the government and being part of the Gulen movement, which until the end of 2013 was a firm ally of the Islamist Turkish government but now is considered a terrorist group. Since the failed coup, 265 Air Force pilots were suspended from their posts, EFE news reported.
The police operation launched on Thursday was based in Konya, in the region of Atolia, where 71 of the 73 pilots live. This is the fourth wave of arrests of soldiers at this military base since the attempted coup of July 15. A total of 91 soldiers, including former base commander, have been arrested so far.
Since the coup, authorities have detained or suspended from jobs thousands of police officers, soldiers, judges, professors and officials of various public offices, accused of being followers of Gulen, who now lives in the US. (IANS)