Turkey Detains Ex-police Chief, Governors, Journalists as Coup Probe Continues

Since the abortive coup, some 35,000 people have been detained for questioning and over 17,000 of them have been formally arrested, including soldiers, police and judges.

Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wave national flags as they listen to him through a giant screen in Istanbul's Taksim Square, Turkey, August 10, 2016.
Osman Orsal, Reuters

Turkey detained a former police chief, several governors and nine journalists on Tuesday as part of the probe into the movement allegedly behind last month's abortive coup, according to state media.

The Istanbul chief public prosecutor's office issued a detention order for former Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin, an unnamed governor and two district governors, after new evidence surfaced in its investigation into the finances of the movement led by U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen. The Anadolu news agency says Capkin was detained in the western city of Izmir.

Ankara alleges Gulen was responsible for the violent July 15 coup attempt that left over 270 people dead. The cleric himself denies any involvement.

Eight governors, including former Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu, one deputy governor and three district governors had been put under arrest earlier this month as part of the coup probe.

Nine journalists, meanwhile, were detained Tuesday in police operations in Istanbul, Ankara and the northwestern province of Kocaeli, according to Anadolu.

The operations came after the Istanbul chief prosecutor's office issued detention orders on Tuesday for 35 journalists with alleged ties to the Gulen movement. Eighteen of the journalists have left the country and authorities are still searching for the remaining eight.

Two staff colonels accused of coordinating military units in Istanbul on the night of the coup were also put under arrest Tuesday, Anadolu reported. Col. Nebi Gazneli and Col. Muslum Kaya had been detained in the central Anatolian province of Konya earlier this month and brought to Istanbul.

Anadolu said that during their testimony they confessed to attempting a coup, but denied that they were members of the Gulen movement.

The Turkish government declared a state of emergency and launched a massive crackdown on Gulen's supporters in the aftermath of the coup. Some 35,000 people have been detained for questioning and more than 17,000 of them have been formally arrested to face trial, including soldiers, police, judges and journalists.

Tens of thousands more people that the government believes have suspected links to Gulen have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs in the judiciary, media, education, healthcare, military and local government. Some say they have been wrongly dismissed.

The government crackdown has raised concerns among Turkey's Western allies and human rights organizations, who have urged the government to show restraint.

Anadolu said a Turkish judge was detained by Greek authorities early Tuesday for illegally sneaking onto the Greek island of Chios in a boat carrying six Syrian refugees and later requesting political asylum.

Last week seven Turkish nationals suspected of membership in the Gulen movement also arrived illegally in Greece and requested asylum, the news agency reported.

Eight Turkish military officers fled to Greece in a helicopter right after the failed coup and requested asylum. Turkey has formally requested their extradition for prosecution, however they remain in Greece and are still awaiting processing of their asylum requests.