Turkey’s Interior Ministry: 616 detained in one week over alleged Gülen links

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The Turkish Interior Ministry announced that 616 people have been detained in last week due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement while detention warrants were issued for 119 people who used to work for the private schools that the government shuttered over links to the Gülen movement in Ankara on Monday.

Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office issued the detention warrants as part of an investigation into the movement. The suspected 119 people are accused of having used mobile phone messaging application ByLock.

Turkish authorities claim that ByLock mobile app was once-primary communication tool among the followers of the movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The ministry has also said that seven people have been detained over the past week on charges of disseminating terrorist propaganda on social media after investigations were launched into 682 social media users and the identities of 255 were confirmed. The posts allegedly disseminated terrorist propaganda and praised terrorist organizations as well as provoking people to hatred, revenge and enmity and insulting state authorities.

Meanwhile, Enver Altaylı, a former personnel of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) was reportedly detained in Korkuteli district of Antalya province on Sunday over his alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that Altaylı was wanted by Turkish police following a detention warrant issued for him in the framework of an investigation by Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Altaylı was transferred to the anti-terror unit of Ankara Police Department on Sunday evening and his interrogation has reportedly been continuing on Monday. Altaylı is reportedly accused of having an active role within the movement. The 73-year-old diplomat had started to work for MİT in 1968.

He is known to be imprisoned for his participation in the coup attempts in the 1960s orchestrated by Talat Aydemir against the coalition government of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), New Turkey Party (YTP), and Republican Villagers Nation Party (MKMP) under Prime Minister İsmet İnönü.

Also, in Hakkari province, 3 people were also detained by police units over their alleged use of ByLock. While one of the detainees was released, it was reported on Monday that the investigation about two other detainees is still underway over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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