Turkey issues detention warrants for 63 people including intel agency employees over alleged links to Gülen movement

Detention warrants have been issued for 63 people including former employees of Turkish Intelligence Organization (MİT) as part of investigation into the Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, 45 of the 63 are former MİT employees while others are only linked with these people. Police who have launched operations in 21 provinces have detained 9 in Ankara. A total of 87 out of 141 National Intelligence Organization (MİT) officials, who were suspended following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, were dismissed from their posts as part of a witch-hunt against the Gülen movement last year.

Also on Tuesday, 10 women were detained by police teams in Kula district of Manisa province over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that the detained women used to administrators or members of the Gülen movement affiliated civil society organisations which were closed by Turkish government decrees under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

In an Istanbul-based investigation as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement 12 people were detained in 3 provinces on Tuesday by police over their alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock. It was reported that İstanbul police teams are still continuing their operations to detain 4 more alleged ByLock users.

Police teams have also detained 15 people in Kahramanmaraş province on Tuesday over their alleged use of ByLock while Adana police have detained 35 people over the same accusations and over their alleged links to the Gülen movement the same day.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a member of the Gülen movement and it is seen as the top communication tool among members of the movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the controversial coup attempt.

Meanwhile, an arrest warrant was issued on Monday for Prof. Dr. Mustafa Cüneyt Hoşcoşkun, the former Ege University rector who dismissed 11 academics from the same university in post-coup purge that later hit himself too.

During his tenure from August 12, 2016 to late August, 2017, Hoşcoşkun blacklisted 11 academics and the government removed over links to the Gülen movement. Dismissed as part of an administrative investigation into the movement in late August, this year, Hoşcoşkun has now gotten caught in an judicial investigation and a warrant was issued to arrest him.

The number of academics who lost their jobs since the July 15, 2016 failed coup has hit 8,693.

Hoscoskun came forth in an intra-university elections on July 12, 2016, however Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed him as the rector of İzmir’s Ege University a month after. On February 28, 2017, Hoscoskun was suspended over his alleged links to the Gülen movement and he was later dismissed permanently. According to media, 39 students were also suspended from the university during his term.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with 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’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. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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