Turkish government detains 451 people in one week over alleged links to Gülen movement

Kudbettin Gülen

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that 451 people have been detained in one week due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a botched coup attempt last summer.

Meanwhile, one of the brothers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, Kutbettin Gülen, who was arrested in October, has said his only crime was having the last surname as Fethullah Gülen, the t24 news website reported on Monday.

Gülen’s brother, who is accused of supporting the Gülen movement, attended a hearing at the İzmir 14th High Criminal Court through the IT Voice and Image System (SEGBİS).

“I have no crime other than my last name. I have had heart disease for 20 years. I have prostate problems, and I have to relieve myself 20 to 30 times a day,” said Kutbettin Gülen.

Kutbettin Gülen’s lawyer, Hasan Özçelik, said Gülen’s brother was not a member of any association or foundation inspired by Fethullah Gülen and did not use the ByLock mobile phone app, which is claimed to be a communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement.

Lawyer Özçelik has also said Gülen has health problems and is not able to meet his own needs. However, the court decided on the continuation of Gülen’s arrest, asking for a health report from a state hospital detailing the state of his health, and postponed the hearing.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch AKP government along with Turkey’s autocratic President 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. Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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