Detention warrants issued for 102 people at Agriculture Ministry over alleged Gülen ties

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 102 people working at the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

Thirty of the 102 people for whom detention warrants were issued, were detained in simultaneous operations across 27 provinces as part of the Ankara-based investigation on Friday. The detainees are being accused of being members of a terror organization.

Meanwhile, 30 people across 11 provinces have been detained as part of an investigation conducted by the Bodrum Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office targeting the alleged followers of the faith-based Gülen movement. The detainees are being accused of using a smart phone application known as ByLock, which Turkish authorities say is the top communication tool among the followers of the Gülen movement.

Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock.

Turkey experienced 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 despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

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.

In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of March 1, 93,248 people were being held without charge, with an additional 46,274 in pre-trial detention.

A total of 7,316 academics were dismissed, and 4,070 judges and prosecutors were purged over alleged coup involvement or terrorist links. (SCF with March 10, 2017

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