ISTANBUL – Turkey said Wednesday it expelled 73 more personnel from its armed forces as part of an ongoing effort to rid the military of what it says are followers of the alleged mastermind of the failed July 15 coup.
The Turkish Ministry of Defense said on its official Twitter account Wednesday the expelled personnel belonged to the air force. It said the dismissals have strengthened the military "as it gets rid of traitor FETO," a reference to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey accuses of being behind the coup attempt. Gulen denies this.
Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency said 105 detention orders have been issued in 17 provinces for "imams running the military forces" and soldiers connected to Gulen's organization.
The "imams" are said to be Gulen followers who hold important command positions for the network.á
The announcements came after last week's dismissal of 820 military personnel, of whom 648 were jailed.
It's estimated that more than 5,000 military personnel have so far been discharged since the coup, including 151 generals and admirals.