Turkey orders detention of 52 people over alleged Gülen links in 2 days

Turkish prosecutors in two days ordered the detention of 52 people including teachers, health workers, former public officers, businessmen and active duty and former military officers due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to Turkish media reports.

The Konya Public Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday issued detention warrants for 24 teachers, former police officers, health workers and businessmen. The suspects were accused of providing financial assistance to the families of people who were jailed due to their alleged links to the movement.

On Tuesday the public prosecutor’s office in Ankara ordered the detention of 28 active duty, retired or dismissed military officers. Police conducted operations across 12 provinces to detain the 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 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

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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