Dozens face detention over Gülen ties in Ankara-based operations: report

Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 38 people as part of two separate investigations in the Turkish capital city of Ankara due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Turkish Minute reported on Friday, citing the Demirören news agency.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization.” Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Seventeen of the people facing detention are from Turkey’s Air Forces Command, while 21 others stayed in houses where Gülen-linked students gathered to prepare for public examinations prior to 2016. The investigations are being conducted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Simultaneous raids are being carried out in 12 cities across the country to detain the suspects.

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 Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He locked up thousands including many prosecutors, judges and police officers involved in the investigations as well as journalists who reported on them.

Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement after the abortive putsch of July 15, 2016.

According to a statement from Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Nov. 26, a total of 292,000 people have been detained while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there are currently 25,655 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed due to links to the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government also removed more than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs due to alleged Gülen links following the coup attempt.

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