Turkey orders detention of 45 people over alleged Gülen links in 2 days

Turkish prosecutors ordered the detention of 45 people, including active duty and dismissed military officers and former military and police cadets due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, over the course of two days, according to Turkish media reports.

As part of an investigation launched by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants were issued on Tuesday for 10 active duty and six former military officers and 14 former military cadets. Turkish police conducted operations in 12 provinces across Turkey.

On Monday the public prosecutor’s office in Ankara issued detention warrants for 15 former police cadets over alleged Gülen links. Police conducted operations in eight provinces.

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.

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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