At least 48 public officials, including high-ranking officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, have been placed in pre-trial detention over alleged links to the Gulen group, which the government accused of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016.

The group denies any involvement.

Among the arrestees are 21 active diplomats. The other 27 are reported to be fired from their jobs with gov’t decrees issued in the aftermath of the failed coup.

The suspects were initially detained in police raids across 12 provinces on Monday as part of an investigation in western Turkey launched by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the Gulen group under the pretext of an anti-coup fight, as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 30,000 others were jailed and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.

In July 2021, Turkey’s defense minister, Hulusi Akar, announced that a total of 23,364 members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have been expelled from the service since July 15, 2016 over