89 detained over alleged Gülen links in a week

Eighty-nine people have over the past week been detained on warrants issued by Turkish prosecutors for alleged links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group accused by the government of “terrorist” activities, according to local media reports.

Forty-seven people were detained on Monday in an İzmir-based operation that was also conducted in İstanbul, Ankara, Samsun and Muğla provinces for helping the families of people jailed over alleged Gülen links. As part of an investigation launched by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, police raided the houses of 57 suspects and detained 47 of them, confiscating their savings, jewelry, mobile phones and computers.

In an investigation launched by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants were issued on Wednesday for 25 individuals over alleged Gülen links. Turkish police conducted operations and detained 21 of the suspects.

The same office issued detention warrants on Tuesday in a separate investigation for 15 suspects including former military officers and cadets, 14 of whom were detained by the police.

Seven individuals including former teachers and police officers were detained over alleged Gülen links in Kayseri during the week.

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.

On Tuesday 22 people, including former military cadets and former police academy students, were detained as part of an investigation launched by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Police conducted operations in six provinces.

Following the failed coup, 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 24,706 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.

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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