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Azerbaijan security officers detain suspected Gulen followers

August 19, 2016, 20:00 UTC+3

Islamic cleric Fetullah Gulen is accused of masterminding an attempted coup in Turkey

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BAKU, August 19./TASS/. Officers of Azerbaijan’s State Security Service have detained four nationals of Azerbaijan suspected of links to the movement of US-based Islamic cleric Fetullah Gulen, accused of masterminding an attempted coup in Turkey, the State Security Service and the Prosecutor General’s Office report on Friday.

The report said the detained, working for different wireless communications service providers, allegedly supplied certain persons with personal data about numerous clients, including information about their location and texting, the report said.

"Banned religious literature and CDs, as well as leaflets with speeches of Fetullah Gulen and documents proving links of suspect Faud Ahmedli to Gulen’s movement were found during a search in his apartment," the report said.

Criminal proceedings have been launched and the suspects have been taken into custody.

Reports on Monday said Azerbaijan’s General Prosecutor’s Office launched a criminal case against Fetullah Gulen’s followers.

The spokesman, Eldar Sultanov, said a criminal case was opened "in order to prevent illegal activity in Azerbaijan of supporters of Fetullah Gulen’s terrorist organization".

The spokesman declined to give concrete names in the criminal case. Earlier on Monday, Baku’s news portal posted an article which maintained that "Gulen’s followers were also plotting a coup in Azerbaijan".

A group of insurgents attempted to stage a coup in Turkey overnight on July 16. The capital Ankara and the country's largest city, Istanbul, turned into the main scenes of the standoff. The Turkish authorities declared a three-month state of emergency on July 21 to neutralize the threats posed by putschists. The latest reports indicate the violent events claimed the lives of 246 Turkish citizens and more than a hundred mutineers. Over 2,000 people were wounded.

Ankara says Fetullah Gulen, an Islamist opposition figure permanently residing in the United States since 1999, and FETO backers were behind it. FETO is an acronym widely used in Turkey in relation to different groups associated with Gulen. Turkey demands his arrest and extradition from the United States.

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