40 military personnel, 28 teachers, 30 more detained over alleged Gülen links

As of Thursday morning, 40 members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), 28 dismissed teachers and 30 civilians were detained over alleged links to Gülen movement.

The police operations across 26 provinces of Turkey targeted 71 military personnel in detention warrants, 40 of which were detained for allegedly using ‘ByLock’, a smart phone application that the government considers a secret messaging tool for sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

Also, in Thursday morning, 28 dismissed teachers were detained by police in several provinces of Turkey. Detention warrants were issued for a total of 33 teachers in Kahramanmaraş and nearby provinces. Tens of thousands of teachers have been dismissed by decrees overnight following the coup attempt Turkey experienced on July 15, 2016.

Meanwhile, a total of 30 civilians, including businessmen and housewives, were detained as part of ongoing operations throughout Wednesday targeting the alleged followers of the Gülen movement due to their use of a smart phone application known as ByLock.

According to pro-gov’t Yeni Şafak daily, the operations, which were based in the eastern province of Batman, were conducted across 21 provinces, including Trabzon, Antalya, Konya, Diyarbakır and İstanbul.

The government holds the faith-based Gülen (Hizmet) movement for the coup and undertakes an unprecedented crackdown against its real and perceived sympathizers. A leaked EU intelligence report in January stated no evidence of Gülen movement as the mastermind of the coup unlike the Turkish government’s claim.

In December, a report by the Council of Europe indicated that Turkey’s purge of its military since a botched coup in July has cut its armed forces by a third, adding that NATO has raised concerns that Turkey’s response to the failed coup has worryingly thinned its forces.

In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of March 1, 93,248 people were being held without charge, with an additional 46,274 in pre-trial detention.

A total of 7,316 academics were dismissed as 4,070 judges and prosecutors were purged over alleged coup involvement or terrorist links. (SCF with turkishminute.com) March 2, 2017

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