Turkey issued detention warrants for 87 people over alleged Gülen links in a week

Turkish authorities have over the past week ordered the detention of 87 people due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to local media reports.

Detention warrants for 40 people including 14 teenagers and teachers were issued on Tuesday by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The police detained 38 of the suspects, who were accused of staying in student apartments affiliated with the movement, exchanging text messages as part of an allegedly Gülen-linked student network and disseminating terrorist propaganda.

In two separate investigations, the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 31 individuals including former police officers for alleged links to the Gülen movement. The police detained 26 of the suspects in 11 provinces.

Fifteen people were also detained on Wednesday after the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 16 suspects including active duty and dismissed military officers and former military cadets.

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 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 public 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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