Turkish authorities issue detention warrants for 31 former and active duty military members

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 31 former and active duty military members over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Turkish media reported.

Police detained 20 suspects after raiding locations in 16 cities over their alleged communication with suspected members of the Gülen movement via payphones to avoid being tracked. The detention orders targeted former military members dismissed from the service by executive decrees and military members who retired or had resigned as well as active duty servicemen.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement, a religious group inspired by Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, of masterminding a coup attempt in July 2016 and labels it a terrorist organization. The movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

The detention order is part of a massive crackdown. Turkish authorities ordered the detention of 53 military personnel for using payphones in September. They ordered the detention of 27 noncommissioned officers in early September for the same reason.

The detention of 47 military personnel including 34 active duty officers was ordered on August 18. Four days earlier the İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office ordered the detention of 141 people on the same accusation.

Following the coup attempt the Turkish government dismissed some 150,000 public servants from state jobs.

According to a spokesperson for the Turkish Ministry of Defense, a total of 20,312 military 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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