75 face detention for financially assisting families of jailed Gülen followers

Turkish police on Monday carried out operations to detain 75 people on allegations of terrorism since they provided financial assistance to the families of jailed followers of a faith-based group targeted by the government, Turkish Minute reported, citing the Bold Medya news website.

Detention warrants were issued by the Adana Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in southern Turkey, and police operations were being conducted across eight provinces on Monday.

The suspects are also accused of attending religious talks with other followers of the Gülen movement and posting messages on social media about human rights violations suffered by the movement’s followers.

The Turkish government has been cracking down on real and assumed followers of the Gülen movement for more than six years. The crackdown intensified following a coup attempt in 2016 since the government accuses the movement of masterminding the failed coup and terrorism. The Gülen movement strongly denies any involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

Although some suspects were detained during Monday’s police operations, Bold Medya has not reported the exact number of those taken into custody.

In a similar operation in October, Turkish police detained 678 people out of 704 named in detention warrants as part of an investigation into the financial activities of followers of the Gülen movement.

The suspects, 219 of whom were arrested, are accused of either receiving financial assistance or distributing financial assistance sent by Gülen followers abroad to the families of people jailed over links to the Gülen movement or removed from the civil service for the same reason.

The mass detention of so many people for distributing or receiving donations has attracted widespread criticism from politicians and human rights activists from within and without 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, 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.

Victims of Turkey’s post-coup crackdown say they and their families experience severe financial and psychological problems due to what they call hate speech employed by the government and its supporters against them, which prevents them from leading normal lives, finding jobs and supporting their families.

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