ISTANBUL, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- Turkish authorities on Tuesday arrested 118 soldiers over their alleged links to a group believed to be behind a coup attempt in 2016.

The defendants, all soldiers in active service, were put behind bars for "being a member of an armed terrorist organization," the state-run Anadolu Agency said.

In the trial of a total of 191 detainees, a court in Istanbul decided to release 73 of them, including 42 soldiers, Anadolu noted.

Last Friday, police launched operations in 46 provinces across the country to catch the suspects on the order of the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office in Istanbul.

According to the report, 25 of those targeted in the operations remain at large.

The suspects have allegedly contacted via pay phone with the network led by U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen.

The Turkish government blames Gulen and his network for masterminding the coup bid in July 2016, in which 250 people were killed, and has been pushing for his extradition.

Ankara has been tightening operations against suspects linked to the Gulen movement in recent days.

On Monday, Turkish prosecutors issued detention warrants for another 111 military personnel over the failed coup.