Turkey threatens to abolish citizenship of Gulen and 129 others

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ISTANBUL, June 5 (Xinhua) — A total of 130 fugitives will lose their Turkish citizenship, including Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen living in the United States who is accused of masterminding a failed coup last year, unless they return to the country within three months, the Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday.

“This is a ‘return home’ call to the citizens who can not be reached because of being in foreign countries,” read a ministry notice published in the Official Gazette.

For those who do not follow the call to return, the Council of Ministers has the right to deprive them of their citizenship, the notice said.

Ankara has been pushing for the extradition of Gulen, who has been residing in the U.S. since 1999 and has denied any involvement in the coup attempt in July last year, in which 249 people were killed.

The notice said among the fugitives are Faysal Sariyildiz and Tugba Hezer, lawmakers from Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, who are accused of having links to terror groups and believed to be in Europe.

Of the 130 fugitives targeted, most have been charged with involving in the coup bid or having links with terror groups, including the movement led by Gulen and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, according to the notice.

The post-coup crackdown is continuing in Turkey, as the authorities have arrested over 45,000 people and dismissed around 150,000 others from their posts, mostly from the military, police, government agencies, the judiciary and universities, according to press reports.

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