Turkish authorities on Saturday ordered the detention of 47 military personnel including 34 active duty officers as part of a large-scale crackdown on the faith-based Gülen movement, inspired by US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
Operations were carried out in 40 provinces across Turkey to apprehend the suspects accused of membership in the Gülen movement on the orders of the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in the western province of İzmir, according to Anadolu.
Police have detained 47 suspects, 36 of whom were arrested and put in pre-trial detention, Anadolu said.
The suspects are accused of communicating with alleged members of the Gülen movement with pre-paid phone cards.
Pursuing a feud that originated from what is widely known as the December 17 and 25, 2013 corruption investigations that implicated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, four of his ministers and his close associates, which he attributed to the Gülen movement, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target members of the movement.
Following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding — an accusation strongly denied by the cleric — Erdoğan intensified the crackdown on the movement, dismissing some 150,000 civil servants from state jobs and investigating almost 600,000 people, detaining or arresting half of them on trumped-up terrorism-related charges.
According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, a total of 20,077 military personnel have been purged from the Turkish Armed Forces since the failed 2016 coup over their alleged ties to the movement.