Turkey Fired 1,112 Religious Officials Since Coup Attempt

The influence of U.S.-based cleric Fetullah Gulen over Turkey’s religious elite still a major concern of Erdogan government.

Government supporters burn pictures depicting Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen during a protest in Taksim Square, Istanbul, Turkey, July 18, 2016.
Petros Giannakouris, AP

REUTERS - Turkey's religious affairs directorate has so far removed a total of 1,112 personnel, including preachers and instructors in the Koran, since the July 15 failed military coup, it said on Tuesday.

Turkish authorities accuse U.S.-based Islamic preacher and scholar Fethullah Gulen of orchestrating the failed coup, in which at least 246 people were killed. Gulen, who denies the charge, has built up an extensive network of supporters, schools, charities and businesses in Turkey over decades.

Separately, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters that two ambassadors, currently based in Ankara, had been removed following the coup attempt.

Turkish authorities have suspended, detained or placed under investigation more than 60,000 soldiers, police, judges, teachers, civil servants and others since the July 15 coup attempt.