Dozens of people detained or arrested over alleged links to Gülen movement on Monday

Police forces detained dozens of people including a goalkeeper, military officers, public servants and Turkish courts arrested a deputy governor and gave prison sentences to 13 lawyers across Turkey on Monday as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged followers of the Gülen movement in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

In a Sivas-based investigation, 14 military officers were detained in 6 provinces on Monday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. After Sivas Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 18 people, police teams detained 14 military officers in Sivas, Hakkari, Kırıkkale, Balıkesir, İstanbul and Kars provinces where they are on duty.

In Samsun province, 13 people were detained by police over their alleged use of mobile phone messaging app ByLock on Monday. It was reported that there are public servants who were previously dismissed by government decrees under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2017, among the detainees.

Also on Monday, 10 people were detained in Giresun province over their alleged use of ByLock while 10 people were also detained in Bolu province over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Moreover, in Kastamonu province, 4 people, including Oğuzhan Bahadır, the goalkeeper of Kastamonuspor 1966 football team were arrested over their alleged use of ByLock.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a Gülen follower as they see the mobile phone application as the top communication tool among the sympathizers of the 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 in 2016.

Meanwhile, Sercan Gökdemir, deputy governor of Diyarbakır, who was detained on Sunday, was arrested and sent to prison by a Diyarakır court over his alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that his wife, who was also detained together with Gökdemir, is still under police detention.

Furthermore, 13 lawyers were given prison sentences by Eskişehir 2nd High Criminal Court from 3 years and 9 months to 12 years over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Three lawyers were released by the court by taking the period that they stay in the prison into consideration.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 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.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

July 16, 20

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