855 detained, 48 arrested in anti-Gülen operations in one week

A total of 855 people were detained, with 48 of them put under arrest, in operations targeting the faith-based Gülen movement over the past week, according to a statement from Turkey’s Interior Ministry on Monday. The detentions and arrests took place between Feb. 21 and 27.


Meanwhile, on Monday, 23 housewives and businessmen were detained over alleged links to the Gülen movement. Detention warrants were issued for 25 Çorum residents early on Monday. Hours later, police teams carried out simultaneous operations in the province and detained twenty-three of them. 19 of the detainees are reported to be housewives.

The detainees are accusse of having links to the Gülen movement, using of a smart phone application known as ByLock and attending public meetings organized by the movement followers.

Also, in Kırklareli province of Turkey, police detained prominent Turkish businessman Hüseyin Hersek as part of an ongoing investigation on the alleged followers of the Gülen movement on Monday. Acting on a tip off, a group of police officers raided a house allegedly belonging to Hersek and detained several people, including the businessman himself.

Hersek is the president of Kırklareli Industry and Business Association and owns a tour company based in Kırklareli province. Hersek was seen having serious difficulty in walking while being taken to the police station for interrogation.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the coup “a great gift of God” and pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

About 130,000 people have been purged from state bodies, 92,000 detained and 45,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and a comedian.

Feb. 27, 2017

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