More than 100 police and military officers detained amid ongoing crackdown on Gülen movement

File photo.

Turkish police on Tuesday detained 104 former and active duty police and military officers in two separate operations based in the western province of İzmir due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

According to Turkish Minute, detention warrants were issued for 126 active duty officers and former police officers, with 63 of them detained in police raids across 39 provinces, as part of the first operation.

The detainees are accused of communicating with members of the Gülen movement, a faith based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, using payphones in order to avoid being tracked.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the 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. Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

As part of the second operation, 41 police officers who were purged from their jobs in the aftermath of the coup attempt were detained in simultaneous police raids across six provinces.

Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement following the abortive putsch. The Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. Over 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 20,571 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

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 movement.

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