Turkey detains more businessmen, academicians, teachers in post-coup witch hunt

Police detained Yalova Chamber of Commerce and Industry (YTSO) chairman along with its 4 board members as part of a post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement on Wednesday. YTSO board consists of 8 individuals.

At least 7 people were detained in a Yalova-based operation on Wednesday; two of them are former board members and the remaining are current executives at YTSO, including the chairman. The detainees are accused of having deposited money into the now-defunct Bank Asya, which was affiliated to Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, at least 16 people who work for Eskisehir Osmangazi University (ESOGÜ) were also detained as part of an witch hunt campaign targeting the Gülen movement on Tuesday. Detainees included ESOGÜ’s vice rector A.B. and A.K., the deputy chief physician at ESOGÜ’s medical faculty.

In Tokat-based witch hunt campaign of the Turkey’s government, the teacher couple, identified with initials C.B. and F.B., were detained over their alleged links to the Gülen movement on Tuesday. Accused of having used the ByLock mobile application, the couple was working at a primary school that was closed by the government over alleged ties to the movement. Turkish authorities claim that ByLock was a top communication tool among followers of the movement. The couple was detained at a relative’s house in Ankara. While F.B. was released on judicial control, her husband C.B. was put in pre-trial arrest.

Also on Wednesday, Ali Fuat Yılmazer, the former chief of the intelligence unit at the İstanbul Police headquarters who had been detained following the 2013 government corruption probe, was sentenced to 1 year and 6 months in prison for allegedly insulting  Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He is accused of insulting Erdoğan during a TV program, aired on March 19 and 22, 2014.

Yılmazer was first imprisoned following corruption probes in late 2013 implicating then-Prime Minister Erdoğan’s government and was charged of having committed a range of crimes, from illegal wiretapping to involvement in the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in 2007. Yılmazer’s two lawyer daughters were also arrested over their alleged ties to the Gülen movement in late March this year.

Turkey survived a failed military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 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 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.

According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey. (SCF with turkeypurge.com) May 11, 2017

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