Turkish gov’t detain 646 people in one week over alleged links to Gülen movement

Turkish government has detained 646 people as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement  in the past week.

According to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, the Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that 646 people have been detained in the week of Feb. 19-Feb. 26 due to alleged links to the movement.

Meanwhile, on Monday, 42 people were detained in Tekirdağ province over their alleged links to the Gülen movement following the detention warrants have been issued for 59 people.

Police have detained 38 people in Alanya district of Antalya province on Monday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, while in a Manisa-based investigation 7 people were detained in 5 provinces across Turkey following the detention warrants issued for 10 people.

The Interior Ministry announced on Feb. 19 that 567 people had been taken into custody the previous week due to alleged links to the movement. Turkish government detained a total of 2,426 people over alleged links to the movement in the first month of 2018.

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 Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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 more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, 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.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 2, 2018. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “Even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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