ISTANBUL – Turkey detained a former police chief, several governors and nine journalists Tuesday as part of the probe into the movement allegedly behind last month’s abortive coup, according to state media.
Also, Greek authorities said that a man claiming to be a judge facing persecution in Turkey after the July 15 failed coup had reached the eastern Aegean island of Chios on a boat with a small group of refugees. The Merchant Marine Ministry said the 48-year-old Turk was arrested for illegally entering Greece. A ministry official said he told authorities he would seek asylum in Greece.
Greek asylum officials are currently interviewing eight Turkish military personnel who flew a military helicopter to a northern airport on July 16 seeking protection.
The six helicopter pilots and two flight mechanics deny involvement in the coup. Turkey has requested their extradition.
Over the past week, seven Turkish nationals have clandestinely entered Greece, claiming to be fleeing the government crackdown that followed the coup attempt.
On Tuesday, the Istanbul chief public prosecutor’s office issued a detention order for former Istanbul police chief Huseyin Capkin, an unnamed governor and two district governors, after new evidence surfaced in its investigation into the finances of the movement led by U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen. The state-run Anadolu Agency says Capkin was detained in the western city of Izmir.
Turkey alleges that Gülen was responsible for the coup attempt that left over 270 people dead. Gulen denies any involvement.
Former Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, one deputy governor and three district governors are among those who had been put under arrest earlier this month as part of the coup probe.
Nine journalists, meanwhile, were detained Tuesday in police operations in Istanbul, Ankara and the northwestern province of Kocaeli, according to Anadolu.
The operations came after the Istanbul chief prosecutor’s office issued detention orders on Tuesday for 35 journalists with alleged ties to the Gülen movement. Eighteen of the journalists have left the country and authorities are still searching for the remaining eight.
Two staff colonels accused of coordinating military units in Istanbul on the night of the coup were also put under arrest Tuesday, Anadolu reported. Col. Nebi Gazneli and Col. Muslum Kaya had been detained in the central Anatolian province of Konya earlier this month and brought to Istanbul.
Anadolu said that during their testimony they confessed to attempting a coup, but denied that they were members of the Gülen movement.
The Turkish government declared a state of emergency and launched a massive crackdown on Gulen’s supporters in the aftermath of the coup. Around 35,000 people have been detained for questioning and more than 17,000 of them have been formally arrested to face trial, including soldiers, police, judges and journalists.
Tens of thousands more people that the government believes have suspected links to Gulen have been suspended or dismissed from their jobs in the judiciary, media, education, health care, military and local government. Some say they have been wrongly dismissed.
The government crackdown has raised concerns among Turkey’s Western allies and human rights organizations, who have urged the government to show restraint.