Turkey ordered detention of 63 people over alleged Gülen links in a week

Turkish prosecutors have over the past week ordered the detention of 63 people due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to local media reports.

As part of an investigation launched on Friday by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants have been issued for 16 people. Turkish police have detained eight of the suspects in operations across Turkey.

On Wednesday the public prosecutor’s office in Konya issued detention warrants for 19 people in two separate investigations over alleged Gülen links. Police conducted operations in three provinces and detained 18 suspects.

An additional 14 detention warrants were issued in Ordu and Kocaeli provinces on Tuesday and Thursday.

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 detention warrants for 14 people including active duty and former naval officers and a civilian were issued on Tuesday as part of an investigation conducted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Raids were carried out in four provinces to detain the suspects, who are claimed by authorities to have links to 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 29,444 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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