Turkish gov’t brought charges against 136,795 people for alleged membership in ‘terror organisations’ in 2017

The Turkish government brought charges against a total of 136,795 people on accusations of alleged membership in “terrorist organizations” in 2017, according to data released by the Turkish Justice Ministry.

Law professor Kerem Altıparmak stated on his personal Twitter account on Friday that 136,795 people across Turkey were the subject of legal proceedings in 2017 over their alleged membership in terrorist organizations under Article 314/2 of the Turkish Penal Code.

Altıparmak said that in order to understand the enormity of this number one must compare it to the same data from 2016, which indicate that 29,434 people were charged in 2016 with alleged membership in terrorist organizations.

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, which was labeled as “terror organisation” by Turkish government, since the controversial 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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