Turkey extends post-coup probes, raids defence contractor ASELSAN: Anadolu

Reuters , Thursday 9 Mar 2017

Turkish soldiers accused of attempting to assassinate President Tayyip Erdogan on the night of the failed July 15 coup, are escorted by gendarmes as they arrive at the court in Mugla, Turkey, March 8, 2017. (Reuters)

Turkish authorities on Thursday ordered the detention of 84 people, including employees of Turkey's defence contractor ASELSAN, in an investigation into the network of the U.S.-based cleric blamed for a failed coup, the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

Authorities issued the detention warrants in simultaneous operations in 86 locations across four provinces, Anadolu reported, adding that 43 of the suspects had so far been caught. It said the suspects were being sought on charges of "leading or being a member of an armed terrorist organisation".

Since the July coup attempt, Turkish authorities have detained, dismissed or suspended some 120,000 people including soldiers, police officers, teachers, judges and journalists, and formally arrested nearly 40,000 people. Thousands have since been restored to their posts.

Companies with ties to the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom President Tayyip Erdogan and the government accuse of orchestrating the coup attempt, have also been targeted in the crackdown. Hundreds of companies, for the most part smaller provincial firms, have been seized.

The cleric, who has lived in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania since 1999, has denied the accusations against him and condemned the coup.

Following reports of the operation, ASELSAN <ASEL.IS> shares initially fell as much as 5.24 percent. They had recovered to around 0.7 percent down by 0830 GMT.

ASELSAN was not immediately available to comment.

In January, police detained the top legal advisor and a former chief executive of Dogan Holding, one of Turkey's biggest conglomerates.

The government has also appointed administrators to several companies through executive decrees following the abortive putsch.

Emergency rule declared after the coup attempt enables the government to bypass parliament in enacting new laws through decrees and to limit or suspend rights and freedoms when deemed necessary.

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