Turkish police raid science council in post-coup purge

Turkish police raid the offices of the national science research council, widening an investigation into followers of the U.S.-based cleric that Turkey suspects of masterminding last month's coup attempt.

Investigation widens into followers of U.S.-based cleric and alleged mastermind

A policeman stands atop of a military armoured vehicle after troops involved in the coup surrendered in Istanbul, Turkey on July 16. More than 60,000 people have been detained, suspended or placed under investigation since the attempted coup. (Murad Sezer/Reuters)

Turkish police have raided the offices of the national science research council, an official said on Wednesday, as authorities widen an investigation into followers of the U.S.-based cleric that Turkey suspects of masterminding last month's coup attempt.

Broadcaster NTV earlier reported that police raided the offices of the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (Tubitak) on Wednesday and detained "many" people.

However, a Tubitak official told Reuters the raid had happened on Sunday, adding he did not have any details about the number of detentions. He declined to comment further.

Tubitak funds science research projects in universities and the private sector and employs more than 1,500 researchers, according to its website.

More than 60,000 people in the military, judiciary, civil service and education have been detained, suspended or placed under investigation following the July 15 coup attempt, prompting fears that President Tayyip Erdogan is using the events to crack down on dissent.

Turkey's government says the coup attempt was orchestrated by followers of Fethullah Gulen, a Muslim cleric who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. Gulen denies the charge and has condemned the coup.

More than 230 people, not including coup plotters, died and thousands were wounded as mutinous soldiers commandeered fighter jets, helicopters and tanks in the failed attempt to topple the government.