Detention warrants issued for 121 over alleged Gülen links

Detention warrants have been issued for 121 people in the central Turkish provinces of Kayseri and Konya over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Milliyet daily reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, 100 people in Kayseri, 64 of whom have been detained, are accused of using a smart phone application called ByLock, in an investigation overseen by the Kayseri Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

In Konya, detention warrants have been issued for 21 military officers at the 3rd Main Jet Airbase as part of an investigation into alleged Gülen followers.

Two captains and 19 lieutenants, 14 of whom have been detained, are accused of “violating the Constitution, attempting to prevent legislative bodies from performing their duties, rebelling against the government and membership in an armed terrorist organization.”

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office also issued detention warrants on Tuesday for 31 Ankara University staff members over ByLock use. And 21 people working at Ankara University were detained on Tuesday for their alleged use of ByLock. The Ankara University staff members were detained as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement.

ByLock is believed to be the main 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 since the failed coup attempt.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Hatay deputy Mevlüt Dudu has claimed that Harran University Rector Ramazan Taşaltın has profiled 124 academics working at the university due to suspected affiliation with the faith-based Gülen movement, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Tuesday.

Dudu claimed that Taşaltın sent a dossier including the names of profiled academics, whom he categorized as A, B and C, to the Şanlıurfa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office so that investigations could be launched into them.

The A category is for those who are “suspected of having definite links to the movement at a militant level”; academics in the B category are “suspected of being somehow linked but have no links to the movement at a militant level”; and the C level is for those who “possibly had a weak link to the movement in the past, but it is not certain if they still have any links now or if they are related to someone who is linked to the movement.”

Dudu, who said Taşaltın previously gave lectures at Fatih University, which was closed due to its links to the Gülen movement in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt, asked Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ to respond to the allegations of Taşaltın’s profiling of academics.

“Has Taşaltın faced political pressure to prepare a blacklist? Has he been forced to become an informant in return for remaining in his position?” asked Dudu.

Dudu also stated that academics who signed a peace declaration in 2016 asking the Turkish government to halt operations in Turkey’s southeastern region were also profiled by Taşaltın.

Thousands of academics have been purged from their posts due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement in the aftermath of the failed coup.

A controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 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.

Turkish government has dismissed about 150,000 public employees by executive decrees under the rule of emergency declared following the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. 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. (SCF with July 5, 2017

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