Turkey orders arrest of 295 active duty soldiers

Istanbul Public Prosecutor Office on Friday issued an arrest warrant for 295 active-duty military personnel, as part of an ongoing post-coup purge, adding more to a number of over 6,000 of military staff, dismissed from Turkish military.

Soldiers are accused of communicating some members of the Gulen movement through pay phones and landlines, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Turkish government deems the movement a terrorist organization, and holds it accountable for 2016 failed coup, while it denies any involvement.

Two colonels, one lieutenant colonel, eight majors, 10 captains, 73 lieutenants, 185 non-commissioned officers, eight lieutenants, and eight expert sergeants, in total, 295 serving military personnel were included in the arrest warrant, according to pro-government Demiroren News Agency.

Some 147 of the active-duty soldiers belong to land forces, while 22 of them were under the Gendarmerie Commandership and 27 soldiers were responsible at Air Forces, local media reports.

A total of 1,076 military members were sacked due to alleged links to the movement since the end of a state of emergency declared following the 2016 coup attempt and revoked in July 2018, Anadolu reported early in February.

Some 624 members of the land forces, 107 others from the naval forces and 345 air forces members were dismissed of duty, the agency added.

During the state of emergency which took nearly two years, over 5,000 military members including top generals were dismissed, detained, or arrested by presidential decrees.

Turkey’s purge of its military has cut its armed forces by a third, the Council of Europe said in 2016 following the coup attempt.

The Council raised concerns that Turkey, a NATO member, thinned its forces as a result of mass arrests and dismissals.

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