920 detained in one week in Turkish gov’t’s witch hunt targeting Gülen movement

File photo.

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that a total of 920 people were detained in the past week as part of an ongoing witch hunt carried out by the Turkish government against followers of the faith-based Gülen movement.

Moreover, at least 81 people were detained over the past week on charges of making propaganda on social media on behalf of the Gülen movement and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIL). The ministry said investigations were launched against 395 social media users while only 81 of them were detained over the past week.

Meanwhile, 35 gendarmerie officers were detained on Monday as part of an ongoing witch-hunt targeting people linked with the faith-based Gülen movement, the T24 news website has reported.

According to the report, 16 officers and 19 noncommissioned officers have been detained in operations in 20 provinces as part of an investigation launched by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık said in March that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government had dismissed a total of 22,920 military personnel (6,511 officers and 16,409 cadets) after the coup attempt on July 15.

The government is at the center of criticism over dismissing 22,920 military personnel due to their ties to the Gülen movement, despite the fact that the Turkish military stated on July 27 that only 8,651 military members including cadets and conscripts took part in the failed coup.

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 Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, 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.

According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.

“There are currently 221,607 inmates in prisons. Prison capacity is 203,000, making them 9 percent over capacity,” said Justice Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Basri Bağcı informed Parliament last month, saying that some inmates have to sleep in shifts.

Contrary to accusations made by President Erdoğan and the Turkish government, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament concluded in March that Gülen and the movement he inspired as a whole were not behind the failed coup in Turkey.

The UK Parliament statement came a week after Germany rejected Erdoğan and the Turkish government’s accusations against the Gülen movement about July 15.

The head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, said Turkey could not convince them that US-based Turkish-Islamic scholar Gülen was behind the failed coup in July.

Similarly, Devin Nunes, chairman of United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he has not seen any evidence showing Gülen’s involvement in the putsch in Turkey.

In addition, a report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge. (SCF with turkishminute.com) June 5, 2017

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