Anti-Gülenist witch hunt in Turkey knows no limits

Turkish authorities on June 10 ordered the detention of 63 people, including a mother with her 6-month-old infant, as part of a massive crackdown targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, led by US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The suspects are accused of collecting monetary and in-kind donations to provide relief to members of the movement reduced to dire straits by the government’s persecution.

The Adana Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered the detention of 63 people including police officers dismissed from their jobs by emergency decree-laws in Adana, Mersin and İstanbul.

The operations to put the suspects into police custody are being carried out by the anti-smuggling and organized crime unit of the Adana Police Department, supported by special operations police.

Münevver Tekin with her 6-month-old baby is among the detainees.

Three pregnant women – Hatice Aydın, Sehat Sarı and Ümmiye Kara — were arrested last week by the authorities over Gülen links.

According to lawyers, the arrest of pregnant women or women with newborn infants falls afoul of the Law on the Execution of Sentences and Security Measures, which stipulates that “execution of the prison sentence is delayed for women who are pregnant or have given birth within the last year and a half.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement 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 coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization and began to target members of the movement.

Following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding — an accusation strongly denied by the cleric — Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement, dismissing some 150,000 civil servants including teachers, doctors, academics and police officers as well as lawyers, journalists and members of the military by cabinet decree, locking up hundreds of thousands of them and seizing their assets.

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