Report: Prominent Turkish journalist denies any link to coup plotters

Nazli Ilicak, a prominent journalist and one of 17 reporters arrested after the failed putsch in Turkey earlier this month, has denied any links to the coup plotters, the Dogan news agency reported Saturday, citing sources.

Ilicak told prosecutors that she had "no connection" with the followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish-born preacher living in the US who President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for the bloody coup attempt that left more than 260 people dead and thousands injured.

Gulen and Erdogan were onetime allies who fell out in recent years. Turkey is hoping to see Gulen, who denies the accusations, extradited from the US, but Washington is awaiting a full formal request to weigh the merits of the case.

A prosecutor asked for 21 journalists under detention to be formally arrested on Friday. A court then placed 17 in formal custody, among them Ilicak. Detention orders are still out for dozens of additional reporters and media workers.

In the government crackdown against alleged supporters of Gulen, more than 66,000 people have been removed from the civil service in the past two weeks. Turkey has also discharged more than 1,600 officers since the coup, including about 150 generals.

Interior Minister Efkan Ala said Friday that more than 18,000 people had been detained since the July 15 coup attempt, 9,677 are under arrest, and 49,000 people had their passports revoked. Some 3,500 of those detained were later released, an official added.

The state-run Anadolu news agency reported Saturday that an additional 758 soldiers have been released from detention.

Turkey's crackdown has drawn criticism in the West, and, even before the coup, about 34 journalists were in Turkish jails, according to watchdogs.

Last update: Sat, 30/07/2016 - 18:58

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