Over 1000 detained in raids across Turkey over links to Gulenist group

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ANKARA, Turkey (A.W.)- On April 26, Turkish police announced they had recently arrested more than a 1,000 people accused of ties to the US -based cleric Fethullah Gulen blamed for last year's failed coup.

Over 1,000 Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) suspects were arrested in simultaneous police raids across Turkey, the Interior Minister said on Wednesday.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed. Warrants were issued for the detention of 3,224 people, the agency said. It is claimed they are part of a secret movement within the Turkish police forces.

Gulen denies any role in the coup attempt in July.

The government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan suspects Gulen orchestrated a 2016 coup attempt, and has since attempted to purge the Turkish government, educational system and military of his suspected supporters.

More than 47,000 people have been arrested since the coup, Soylu has said, including about 10,700 police officers and 7,400 military personnel.

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Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said the operation comprised all of Turkey's 81 provinces, describing it as an important step toward the government's aim of "bringing down" the Gulen movement.

The arrests, announced by Turkey's interior ministry, come as Turkey is facing intense worldwide scrutiny for its policies after the public narrowly approved sweeping new powers for Erdogan in a referendum held April 16.

"In Turkey, there was an attempted coup with a goal of toppling the government and destroying the state", he said in a recent interview.

Erdogan has positioned himself as a strong protector of Turkey's interests - not only against the alleged machinations of Gulen, but also the violence of militants from the Islamic State and the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

Turkish warplanes killed more than two dozen Kurdish fighters Tuesday in strikes in Syria and Iraq, angering the United States.

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