Turkey detains 28 more military officers over their alleged links to Gülen movement

Arrested officer

Twenty-seven military officers were detained by Turkish police on Tuesday in 6 provinces acrros Turkey in a Kocaeli-based investigation as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement. It was reported that 25 of the detained military officers are on active duty.

Following the detention warrants issued by Kocaeli Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 32 military officers over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, 27 of them were detained by police teams in Kocaeli, Van, İzmir, Ankara, Bursa and Muğla provinces.

Also a major, who was wanted over his alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock, was detained by police teams in Güzelyurt district of Aksaray province on Tuesday as he was trying to process some documents in a local notary. It was also reported that the major, who was identified with initials A.D., was dismissed from duty on July 14, 2017 by a government decree under the extended rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a member of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The mobile phone application ByLock is seen as the top communication tool among members of the group. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.

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 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.

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