The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday ordered the detention of at least 144 independent lawyers as part of a post-coup crackdown targeting followers of the Gülen movement, Reuters reported.

Gulen movement is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016.

The addresses of 12 of the suspects could not be determined or records showed they had left the country, the statement issued by the prosecutor’s office said, adding that operations spread over 37 provinces to detain the remaining suspects were continuing.

 

More than 77,000 people have been jailed pending trial since the coup, and widespread arrests are still routine. Authorities have suspended or sacked 150,000 civil servants and military personnel. Turkey’s Western allies have criticized the crackdown, with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s critics accusing him of using the abortive putsch as a pretext to quash dissent. Turkish authorities say the measures are necessary to combat threats to national security.