Reuters International

U.S. based cleric Fethullah Gulen at his home in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 29, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Mostoller/File Photo

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ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish police detained 53 former employees of the Istanbul stock exchange on Friday over alleged links to the U.S.-based cleric accused of orchestrating last July's attempted coup, Haberturk newspaper said.

The suspects were the latest among some 150,000 people investigated in Turkey regarding the failed putsch. Some 49,000 of the suspects have been remanded in custody pending trial.

Prosecutors ordered the detention of 102 people as part of the bourse-related investigation, Haberturk said on its website. Ankara has blamed the network of the cleric Fethullah Gulen for the failed coup. Gulen has denied involvement.

Dawn raids were launched on 70 addresses, targeting suspects who were removed from their posts at Borsa Istanbul in the wake of the attempted putsch on July 15, 2016, Haberturk said.

Prosecutors in the Turkish capital Ankara ordered the detention of another 38 people, former employees of educational facilities linked to Gulen that were closed down after the coup, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

It said police have so far detained 16 in that operation across 12 provinces.

About 145,000 civil servants, security personnel and academics have also been suspended or sacked as part of a related purge.

Last week, Turkey dismissed 107 judges and prosecutors over alleged links to the putsch in what was the third major purge since President Tayyip Erdogan was granted sweeping new powers in a referendum last month on constitutional changes.

The mass detentions were initially supported by many Turks, who supported Erdogan in blaming Gulen. But criticism has mounted as the arrests widened, with relatives of many of those detained or sacked denying their involvement in the coup and calling them victims of a purge.

(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Paul Tait and David Dolan)

Reuters

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