Turkish gov’t detains 15 military officers over alleged links to Gülen movement

Fifteen military members were detained in 13 provinces following the issuance of 24 detention warrants by the Kayseri Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, in an investigation into 98 military members launched on Friday by the Turkish government as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Among the subjects of the investigation are one lieutenant colonel, two majors, five captains, 80 lieutenants, six noncommissioned officers and four cadets who were dismissed by a government decree under a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. It was subsequently reported that 62 of the 98 had previously been investigated.

Meanwhile, two people, identified as Yaşar T. and Ahmet E., were detained by police over their alleged links to the Gülen movement in Eskişehir province during a police raid on their houses on Friday.

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 more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. 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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