Turkey detains 52 over financial support for jailed Gülen followers

Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya on Friday announced the detention of 52 people on allegations of providing financial aid to individuals imprisoned or convicted over their alleged links to the Gülen movement and to their families.

Yerlikaya said on social media that operations were carried out across 11 provinces as part of an Antalya-based investigation, sharing video footage from the house raids.

The announcement came on the heels of a European Court of Human Rights judgment which found Turkey in violation of several articles of the European Convention on Human Rights in the case of a former teacher who was convicted on terrorism-related charges due to his links to the Gülen movement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, 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. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following an abortive putsch in 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Following the coup attempt, 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. More than 130,000 civil servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 24,706 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. In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

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