11 people detained in southwestern Turkey over alleged links with Gülen movement

Eleven people, who were allegedly trying to flee Turkey, were arrested on Saturday for their alleged links with the Gülen movement.

According to the pro-government news sources, police has detained 11 people in Dalaman district of Muğla province while trying to flee to the Greek island of Rhodes. Police has also detained two people who were allegedly helping the suspects escape. It is also claimed that two of the detainees were ex-security officers who were dismissed from their professions, and two of them are children.

Meanwhile, 3 people were also detained in Kırkağaç district of Manisa province on Saturday over their alleged links with the Gülen movement. It is reported that the suspects are a teacher, a doctor and an educator working for Turkish education ministry. On April 20, 16 people were arrested in Manisa’s Kırkağaç district with the same groundless charges.

On Friday, 4 people were arrested by a court in eastern province of Mardin over their alleged links with the Gülen movement, while in İzmir 12 out of 29 people, who were wanted following an arrest warrant of an İzmir prosecutor, were detained in the same day with the same charges. It is reported that 6 of the detainees were military officers on duty. The detained military officers were reportedly charged of being “crypto” member of the Gülen movement.

The military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.

May 20, 2017

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