Turkish authorities issue detention warrants for 21 former and active duty military members

Handcuffed

The public prosecutor’s office of the western city of Balıkesir on Monday issued detention warrants for 21 former and active duty military members over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Turkish media reported.

Police detained 12 suspects after raiding locations in 11 cities over their alleged communications with suspected members of the Gülen movement via payphones to avoid being tracked. The detention orders targeted 10 former military members dismissed from the service by executive decrees and 11 active duty servicemen.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a religious group inspired by 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 a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen strongly denies involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

As part of the crackdown Erdoğan dismissed some 130,000 public servants including police officers, teachers, doctors and academics as well as members of the armed forces by emergency decree-laws, locking up tens of thousands and seizing their assets.

According to a spokesperson for the Turkish Ministry of Defense, a total of 20,571military personnel have been summarily dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) since the abortive putsch and investigations are ongoing into a further 3,718 military personnel.

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