Turkish authorities have apprehended a confidant of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen whom they blame for July 15th's failed coup attempt, a presidency official said on Saturday.
Security forces detained Halis Hanci in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, the official said, describing him as a "right-hand man" of the leader of Gulenist Terror Organization (FETO). Hanci is accused for transferring of funds to Gulen.
The official said Hanci "apparently" entered the country two days before the attempted putsch that erupted late on July 15 and resulted in the deaths of 246 people. More than 1,500 people were also injured in the attempted coup.
#BREAKING Turkey detains senior Gulen aide after coup attempt: official
— AFP news agency (@AFP) July 23, 2016
The official also confirmed the arrest of Lieutenant colonel Hakan Karakus, the son-in-law of former air force chief Akın Ozturk, who was also detained soon after the failed coup as one of the key suspects in the plot to overthrow the government.
Karakus was detained in Ankara for the bombing of the special forces command in Ankara and killing 42 police officers.
Earlier on Saturday, authorities also detained one of Gulen's nephews in the northeastern city of Erzurum and he will be brought to the capital Ankara for questioning, Anadolu Agency (AA) reported.
Among possible charges that could be brought against him is membership of a terrorist organisation, the news agency said.
In a crackdown on Gulen's suspected followers, soldiers, police officers, judges, civil servants and teachers have been suspended, detained or placed under investigation.
A state of emergency, approved by the parliament, was also declared in the country earlier this week.
— ANADOLU AGENCY (ENG) (@anadoluagency) July 23, 2016
According to Ankara's chief prosecutor Harun Kodalak, 1,200 soldiers detained in the wake of the coup had been released.
“We will treat them fairly,” Kodalak was quoted by AA as saying.
“We will immediately separate soldiers who did not fire on people, who did not drive army vehicles over people, who did not know what was happening.”