Detention warrants issued for 42 over alleged Gülen links, 26 detained

Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 42 people over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, with 26 of them taken into custody, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

As part of an investigation launched by the Balikesir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants have been issued for active duty and former military officers, former military cadets and civilians.

The suspects are accused of using payphones to secretly communicate with their contacts in the Gülen movement.

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 military 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.

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