According to Turkey's official Anadolu news agency, the chief prosecutors’ office in Istanbul, Konya and Mersin provinces issued the arrest warrants on Tuesday as part of an investigation in 38 provinces across the country.
The report added that the Istanbul-based issued warrants “for 170 FETO suspects”, while the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Konya issued arrest warrants for 80, of whom 47 suspects have been arrested so far.
As for Mersin, the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 96 suspects who had been accused of using the ByLock, an encrypted mobile messaging application that was allegedly used by Gulen’s supporters for communication. Eighty-eight of the suspects have already been arrested.
The suspects included retired, suspended and serving soldiers, Anadolu said, adding that the suspects were believed to have purportedly contacted imams of the Gulen network via payphones and landlines.
Gulen has since strongly rejected any involvement in the coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, Ankara labeled his transnational religious and social movement, Gulen Hareketi, as a terror organization, the so-called FETO. The Turkish government has so far submitted a total of seven requests to US officials concerning the extradition of the Pennsylvania-based figure, but of no avail.
The Turkish authorities have so far detained more than 50,000 people, including security officials, military personnel and civil servants, over alleged links to Gulen’s organization and the failed coup. More than 150,000 others, including military staff, civil servants and journalists, have also been sacked or suspended from work over the same accusations.
Turkey, which remains in a state of emergency since July 2016, has also been engaged in suppressing the media and opposition groups suspected to have played a role in the botched coup.
Rights groups and European governments have repeatedly criticized Ankara for the continued crackdown, saying the government is using the coup as a pretext to muzzle dissent.