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Turkey’s President Arrests More Than 100 People For Connections To Failed 2016 Coup

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter

Turkish authorities will arrest more than 100 members of the country’s military, accusing them of supporting a Muslim cleric allegedly involved in a 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Media reports vary about how many are detained and why as of Wednesday. Israeli news source Haaretz reported 192 military personnel are in detention for allegedly supporting cleric Fetullah Gulen, Erdogan’s enemy. Turkey has ordered the arrest of 132, London-based The Times reported and said the state accuses them of involvement in the 2016 plot.

The arrests contrast with Erdogan’s election promise to lift the state of emergency put in place after the failed coup, according to The Times. Erdogan was reelected to five more years as Turkey’s president on Sunday, the same day constitutional changes that enlarge the president’s executive powers came into effect. (RELATED: Here Is The Man Leading In Mexico’s Presidential Race Who Calls Immigration A Human Right)

The newest detainees include members from many branches of Turkey’s military, reported The Times. Twenty-five members of Turkish Air Force Command have been arrested out of more than 30 accused, according to reports from Turkish state-run media.

The cleric whom the detainees are accused of working with has lived in Pennsylvania since 1999, reported Haaretz.

Turkey has also cracked down on citizens who criticize Erdogan on social media. Six people were arrested on election day for posting videos in which they shouted expletives against the president, United Kingdom-based the Independent reported, citing Turkish state-run media.

Erdogan has sued more than one thousand citizens, including minors, for insulting him. As a crime against the state, insulting the president is punishable with up to four years’ prison time, The Independent reported.

Erdogan has led Turkey since 2003. He spent 11 years as its prime minister before his election as president in 2014.

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