Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu has announced on Sunday that 47,155 people have been jailed over alleged links with Gülen movement since coup attempt on July 15, 2016. According to Minister Soylu, 113,260 people have also been detained with the same accusation and 745 people are still under detention on Sunday over alleged links with Gülen movement which the Turkish gov’t accuses of masterminding a coup attempt last year.
Minister Soylu has also announced that 41,499 people have been released with condition of judicial control and 23,861 people have been released without any condition. Soylu has added that 863 other suspects remain at large.
According to information given by Minister Soylu, 10,732 of those who have been arrested are police officers, while 168 military generals and 7,463 military officers have been jailed as of April 2, 2017. Moreover, Minister Soylu has said that 2,575 judges and prosecutors, and 208 governors or other public administrators have been imprisoned. The number of jailed civilians, including handicapped people, housewives and elders, is 26,177.
The military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 killed over 240 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 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.
In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connections to the Gülen movement since a July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. A total of 7,317 academics were also purged as well as 4,272 judges and prosecutors who were dismissed due to alleged involvement in the coup attempt.
Gülen movement has been inspired by the US-based Turkish Muslim intellectual Fethullah Gülen who has been advocating science education, interfaith and intercultural dialogue and community contribution. The movement promotes a moderate version of Islam with a heavy emphasis on public service. The movement runs schools and universities in 180 countries.
Gülen has been a vocal critic of Turkish government and Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on massive corruption in the government as well as Turkey’s aiding and abetting of radical groups in Syria. Erdoğan launched an unprecedented persecution against Gülen and his followers in December 2013 right after major corruption probe that incriminated Erdoğan’s family members.
The ruling AKP’s Islamist leaders labelled the movement as ‘FETÖ’, a terrorist organization, although Gülen, 75-year old cleric, and his followers have never advocated violence but rather remained staunchly opposed to any violence, radicalism and terror in the name of religion.
April 2, 2017