At least 14 university students were detained in a Nevşehir-based investigation into the Gülen movement over the weekend. Police carried out operations in 9 provinces to round up 14 suspects who are accused to be taking part in “the university leg” of the movement on Saturday. In the meantime, 6 teachers were also taken into custody in Bilecik in a separate probe into the movement.
On Monday, Turkish police also detained 16 academics from the Diyarbakır-based Dicle University who were sacked from their jobs under a government decree issued on Saturday. The academics, most of whom are professors, were detained following police raids on their homes and offices.
Some of the detained academics were reportedly among the signatories of a peace declaration which in early 2016 called on the government to halt operations by security forces in southeastern Turkey, restore peace to the nation and return to the negotiating table to restart shelved talks with the Kurds to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue. A total of 1,128 academics signed the declaration, which attracted widespread criticism from the government.
Hundreds of academics who signed the declaration were detained in police raids across Turkey after the declaration was announced on Jan.11, 2016, while hundreds of them were removed from their jobs.
On Saturday, the Turkish government issued two new state of emergency decrees, known as KHKs, dismissing 3,974 people including 484 academics from state institutions.
According to a report released in March by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), 4,811 academics have been dismissed from 112 universities across the country through decrees issued during a state of emergency declared after a failed coup on July 15.
Since July 15, 2016, over 130,000 people from state institutions have been purged by Turkish government which has already detained more than 120,000 people over alleged links with Gülen movement. According to a statement from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on April 2, even till that date, a total of 113,260 people have also been detained and 47,155 were put into pre-trial detention as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since the coup attempt.
The military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.
Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, 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. (SCF with turkishminute.com & turkeypurge.com) May 1, 2017