72 face detention over alleged Gülen links in separate investigations

Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 72 people including active duty and former military officers as well as former military cadets due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Turkish media reported.

As part of an investigation launched on Tuesday by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants have been issued for 53 people including active duty and former military officers and former military cadets. Turkish police have detained 23 of the suspects in operations in 16 provinces.

The public prosecutor’s office in Gaziantep the same day issued detention warrants for 19 individuals, 14 of whom are former military cadets, over alleged Gülen links.

Last week police raids were conducted on dozens of locations across Turkey to detain 65 former cadets as part of an investigation launched by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in western Turkey.

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.

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.

A total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in November.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

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