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Turkey academics sought in post-coup crackdown


Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 84 university academics suspected of links with US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, blamed by authorities for last month’s failed coup, media reported today.

Police launched an operation in 17 provinces including Konya in central Anatolia, a conservative bastion of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the private Dogan news agency reported.

Twenty-nine academics have been detained so far, it added.

A large majority of the suspects were from Selcuk University in Konya, including the university’s former rector, Professor Hakki Gokbel.

To the alarm of its Western partners, Turkey has pressed ahead with a vast crackdown on alleged coup plotters in the wake of July 15 military action seeking to oust President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said this week that more than 40,000 state employees had been detained in the purge, with 20,335 remanded in custody.

More than 5,000 civil servants have been dismissed and almost 80,000 others suspended, he added.

Gulen, a former Erdogan ally, has a powerful network of influence in institutions such as the judiciary and police as well as the media and has long been accused of running a "parallel state" in Turkey.

The reclusive cleric, who has lived in self-exile in the United States since 1999, vehemently denies he was behind the coup attempt.