Dozens more detained in anti-Gülen witch hunt across Turkey

Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for a total of 85 people across 23 provinces due to their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, with 30 of them detained thus far, Turkish media reports said on Thursday.

As part of the investigation based in the central province of Konya, simultaneous raids were conducted on Thursday morning to detain the 85 people.

Meanwhile, three teachers in Karabük province were put in pre-trial arrest by a court after spending some time under detention while another 16 teachers were detained by police as part of another investigation over alleged links to the Gülen movement, on Wednesday.

All 16 teachers had been earlier dismissed from their posts as part of administrative investigations into the movement. Police carried out operations to take into custody 13 teachers in Zonguldak, Isparta, Osmaniye, Niğde, Ankara and Kayseri provinces.

Also, an Erzurum-based teacher, identified as Fatih G., has received a jail sentence of 6 years and 3 months for his alleged ties to the Gülen movement. Stood trial on accusation of membership to “the FETO armed terrorist organisation,” he was sentenced to 75 months in prison, on Thursday.

Evidence accepted during the trial for the imputed charges are Fatih G.’s alleged use of ByLock smartphone application and his previous membership to an educators union called AktifSen. Both AktifSen and ByLock are claimed to be established by Gülen followers.

A forest engineer, identified as Savas A., has also received a jail sentence of 6 years and 3 months for his alleged ties with the Gülen movement. Yozgat-based engineer was earlier dismissed from his government post as part of the post-coup crackdown.

Stood trial on accusation of membership to “the FETO armed terrorist organisation,” he was sentenced to 75 months in prison. “FETÖ”, short for “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization”, is an infamous abbreviation coined by the government to vilify the movement.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240. 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.

According to a statement from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on April 2, a total of 113,260 people have been detained as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt, while 47,155 were put into pre-trial detention. (SCF with turkeypurge.com and turkishminute.com) April 20, 2017

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