Turkey orders detention of 104 people in a week for aiding families of post-coup victims

Turkish authorities have over the past week ordered the detention of 104 people for helping the families of individuals targeted by a post-coup crackdown in Turkey, according to the state-run Anadolu news agency.

The Ordu Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 43 people, 16 of whom are dismissed civil servants. They were accused of providing food and financial assistance to the families of people who were arrested in the post-coup crackdown or removed from their state jobs and hence deprived of the means to make a living.

As part of an investigation launched by the Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants were issued on Thursday for 61 people for helping the families of individuals jailed over alleged links to the Gülen movement. Police conducted operations across seven provinces and have detained 29 suspects.

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 on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

After 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 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.

Former public servants were not only fired from their jobs; they were also prohibited from working again in the public sector and getting a passport. The government also made it difficult for them to work formally in the private sector. Notes were put on the social security database about dismissed public servants to deter potential employers.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on February 20, that a total of 622,646 people have been the subject of investigation and 301,932 have been detained, while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there are currently 25,467 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed on alleged links to the movement.

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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