The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday issued detention warrants for five active duty and 36 former gendarmes over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Turkish media reported.
Thirty of the suspects were detained in simultaneous raids across 32 provinces, according to a statement issued by the public prosecutor’s office. Operations continue to detain the remaining suspects.
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 on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
The country’s defense minister, Hulusi Akar, recently announced that 23,364 personnel from the Turkish Armed Forces have been expelled over Gülen links since the failed coup.
According to the pro-government Sabah daily, when members dismissed from the gendarmerie and the coast guard are included, the total increases to 29,444. The figure does not include 16,409 military cadets who were expelled after the coup attempt.