Turkey ordered detention of 142 people over alleged Gülen links in a week

Armed special operations officers from the Mersin Police Department raided the houses of suspects early in the morning.

Turkish prosecutors have over the past week ordered the detention of 142 people including teachers, lawyers, businessmen, former civil servants and active duty and former military officers due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to Turkish media reports.

The public prosecutor’s office in Ankara on Friday issued detention warrants in two separate investigations for 22 individuals over alleged Gülen links. Police conducted operations across five provinces to detain the suspects.

Twelve people were detained on Thursday in police raids in three provinces as part of an investigation by the Mersin Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Suspects were accused of providing financial assistance to the families of people who were jailed due to their alleged links to the movement.

An additional 44 detention warrants were issued in İstanbul, Trabzon, Gaziantep and Edirne provinces during the week.

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 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday issued detention warrants for 49 people due to their alleged links to the movement. Police raids were conducted in 29 provinces.

The same day the public prosecutor’s office in Adana in a separate investigation ordered the detention of 15 people accusing them of depositing money at the now-closed Bank Asya, at one time one of Turkey’s largest commercial banks, which is considered by Turkish authorities as a sign of membership in the Gülen movement.

Following the abortive putsch, 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 29,934 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.

A total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in November.

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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