turkey, zaman newspaper, novine.jpg
Photograph: EPA/SEDAT SUNA

A Turkish prosecutor issued a detention order Wednesday for 47 former employees of Zaman, the country's largest newspaper until it was taken over by the state in March amid charges of links to a cleric accused of being behind this month's coup.

Police have also started searching the homes of the people on the list, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The detention order comes on top of warrants issued Monday in the wake of the failed coup attempt for 42 journalists, 16 of whom have been brought in for questioning, according to the Dogan news agency.

Zaman was once seen as a flagship newspaper of the movement of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish-born Islamic preacher based in Pennsylvania since 1999. Gulen was a long-time ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but the two fell out publicly in recent years.

The newspaper was also once largely supportive of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), but shifted along with the ties of the leaders. The new trustee management has imposed a pro-government line.

The Turkish government accused Gulen of being behind the failed coup attempt on July 15, which left about 270 people dead. The preacher denies all the allegations. The US said it would weigh an extradition request on its merits.

Since the failed coup, Turkey has removed tens of thousands of employees from the civil service, allegedly over links to Gulen, and detained more than 13,000 people, of whom about 9,000 were formally arrested.

The European Federation of Journalist, just prior to the failed putsch, announced that 34 journalists are locked up in Turkey.

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