Turkish police on Wednesday detained 17 people as part of three separate operations targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of “terrorism,” local media reported.
The public prosecutor’s office in Bursa on Wednesday issued detention warrants for 10 people over alleged Gülen links. Police conducted operations at various locations and detained nine suspects.
Five people were detained the same day in police raids in the eastern province of Malatya as part of an investigation by the public prosecutor’s office in the province.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following an abortive putsch that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
In Konya, three former civil servants who were fired after the coup attempt were also detained.
Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 24,706 members of the armed forces, were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.
In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.