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turkish coup

Turkey is quietly conducting a worldwide hunt for nationals with suspected ties to 2016 coup attempt

Turkish intelligence agents have arrested at least 80 Turkish nationals in 18 countries around the globe over suspected ties to the group behind the 2016 coup attempt, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said Friday. While Bozdag did not say where the suspects were arrested, such operations have been reported with varying degrees of confirmation in Bulgaria, Malaysia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sudan, The New York Times writes. At least the latter two governments worked directly with Turkish officials to detain the suspects, Turkish media reports.

The arrested suspects are allegedly linked to Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being behind the coup attempt, The Washington Post reports. Gulen, who has denied such allegations, lives in Pennsylvania. The U.S. has so far refused to extradite him to Turkey, despite Ankara's requests.

Gulen's U.S.-based group, the Alliance for Shared Values, slammed Turkey over the global arrests. "Rather than being ashamed of such operations, they are boasting about them," the organization's executive director, Alp Aslandogan, told The New York Times.

Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for Erdogan, confirmed Turkey would continue to carry out such arrests around the world.