Turkish gov’t detains 110 military officers and more over alleged links to Gülen movement

Dozens of people, mostly military officers, were detained across Turkey as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement on Wednesday.

In a Konya-based probe the number of detainees has increased to 66 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement on Wednesday. Following the detention warrants issued by Konya Chief Prosecutor’s Office for more than 130 military personnel in 7 provinces, police forces have continued their searches in Konya, Ankara, Eskişehir, İstanbul, İzmir, Kayseri and Yalova provinces to detain 70 more military personnel over their alleged links to Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, in an Osmaniye-based probe in 33 provinces, 30 military officers were detained following the detention warrants issued by Osmaniye Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 75 military officers over their alleged links to the Gülen movement on Wednesday. It was reported that 56 of the military officers are in their active duties in the Turkish military.

Also in a Tokat-based probe, 12 military officers were detained during operations in 14 provinces on Wednesday following the detention warrants issued by Tokat Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 14 military officers who are on their active duties and 5 civilians over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Moreover, 13 health workers were detained in Malatya province on Wednesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. The detainees reportedly include doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office has also issued detention warrants for 75 people over their alleged financial support to educational and charity activities of the Gülen movement abroad. Police have detained 36 of them in Ankara on Wednesday.

Ali Y., the mufti (official religious authority) on duty of Mihalgazi district of Eskişehir province was detained by police and later arrested by a local court over his alleged use of ByLock on Wednesday.

A deputy police chief in the Aegean province of İzmir, who reportedly worked in critical positions, was also arrested on Wednesday over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

In an İstanbul-based investigation targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, 26 teachers were detained in 23 provinces following the detention warrants issued by İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 49 teachers on Wednesday over their alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock.

The teachers were reportedly working for Turkish Education Ministry and they were dismissed from their duties by government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. It was reported that 21 out of 26 detained teachers were transferred to an İstanbul court and the court has arrested 12 of them as it has released 9 teachers with judicial probation.

Ten dismissed teachers and civil servants in the Merzifon district of the central Amasya province were also detained over their alleged use of ByLock messaging application on Wednesday.

Turkish government has also detained 17 former personnel of Turkish Social Security Institution (SGK) on Wednesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was claimed that the suspects used to use mobile messaging application ByLock.

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among followers of the faith-based Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and housemakers, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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 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’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.

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