Turkey detains scores of expelled military cadets, officers over Gülen links

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Turkish police on Tuesday detained at least 97 former military cadets and active duty and former officers due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement after prosecutors issued detention warrants for 158 of them, Turkish Minute reported, citing the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The detentions took place following simultaneous raids across 41 provinces as part of an operation overseen by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in western Turkey.

Those facing detention warrants include 110 former military cadets and 33 former officers who were expelled from the military in the aftermath of a failed coup in 2016 in addition to 33 active duty officers. They are accused of secretly communicating via pay phone, a method that Turkish prosecutors believe is a means of communicating with the Gülen movement.

The so-called “payphone investigations” are based on call records. The prosecutors assume that a member of the Gülen movement used the same payphone to call all his contacts consecutively. Based on that assumption, when an alleged member of the movement is found in call records, it is assumed that other numbers called right before or after that call also belong to people with Gülen links. Receiving calls from a payphone periodically is also considered a red flag.

The Gülen movement is accused by the Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of masterminding the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and is labeled a “terrorist organization,” although the movement denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

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