Turkish courts jail 44 more military officers over alleged Gülen links

Turkish courts ruled to jail at least 47 people, including 44 military officers on active duty, in İstanbul and Ankara as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

According to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, an İstanbul court ruled to jail 26 people including, 23 military officers, on Thursday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, an Ankara court ruled on Friday to jail 21 majors who were detained on September 10 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. The court also decided to release eight majors on judicial probation. The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had issued detention warrants for 33 majors over alleged Gülen links on Monday.

Also on Friday, police detained seven people, including two women, on Friday in Zongudak province over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. The detentions came following the issuance of warrants by the Zonguldak Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for nine people over alleged Gülen links.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Turkey have been the subject of legal proceedings in the last two years on charges of membership in the Gülen movement since a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, a Turkish Justice Ministry official told a symposium on July 19, 2018.

“Legal proceedings have been carried out against 445,000 members of this organization,” Turkey’s pro-government Islamist news agency İLKHA quoted Turkish Justice Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Ömer Faruk Aydıner as saying.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep 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 has suspended or dismissed about 170,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15, 2016. On December 13, 2017, the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018, that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016, and April 11, 2018, over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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