Turkey’s official news agency reported Tuesday that police have detained 42 people, including academics, for alleged links to a US-based Muslim cleric, less than a week before the anniversary of a failed coup in the country.
Anadolu news agency said the operations Monday targeted people working at Turkey’s Bogazici and Medeniyet University. Prominent Bogazici academic and government critic Koray Caliskan and 19 professors from Medeniyet’s medical school are among the detained.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government blames cleric Fethullah Gulen for masterminding the July 15, 2016, coup attempt and has arrested more than 50,000 people for alleged links to terror groups. Gulen denies the accusations.
Anadolu said the suspects are being investigated for using an encrypted mobile messaging application and communicating with clandestine “imams” in Gulen’s network.
Detention warrants have been issued for 30 more people, according to the agency.
Last week, Turkish police detained Idil Eser, Amnesty International’s Turkey director, along with other human rights activists.
Human Rights Watch said the action “is a repressive new low for the Turkish state,” urging Turkish authorities to provide a public explanation of why it is investigating them as members of a terror group.