Turkish police on Tuesday detained 22 people in two provinces in northern Turkey over their alleged links to the Gülen movement and presented books authored by Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen as “criminal evidence,” Turkish Minute reported.
The Gülen movement is accused of masterminding a failed coup in Turkey in July 2016 and is labelled as a terrorist organization. The movement, however, denies any involvement in the failed putsch or any terrorist activity.
Fourteen people were detained in Kocaeli province in northwestern Turkey following police raids on their homes. Eight people who were detained in the northern province of Edirne were trying to flee Turkey but were pushed back by Greek authorities, according to a statement from the Turkish Defense Ministry.
Police seized books authored by Gülen, a US resident Turkish cleric, during the raids in Kocaeli and presented them as “criminal evidence.”
Police also seized $38,250 and 900 euros in the suspects’ homes, which were supposedly donations made by Gülen followers abroad for the families of the jailed Gülen followers and purge victims in Turkey.
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 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.