24 face detention in Ankara over Gülen links

Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 24 former and current civil servants due to their alleged links to a faith-based group accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in Turkey in 2016, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Bold Medya news website.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of orchestrating the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

The detention warrants for the 15 current and nine former civil servants were issued by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday based on witness statements and their payphone calls.

They are accused of secretly communicating with their contacts within the movement via payphones.

The so-called “payphone investigations” are based on call records. The prosecutors assume that a member of the Gülen movement used the same payphone to call all his contacts consecutively. Based on that assumption, when an alleged member of the movement is found in call records, it is assumed that the other numbers called right before or after that call also belong to people with Gülen links.

Following the abortive putsch, 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 29,444 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.

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