Turkish gov’t detained 518 people over alleged links to Gülen movement last week

Turkish government has detained 518 people as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement across Turkey between Jan. 29-Feb. 5 2018, according to a written statement made by Turkish Interior Ministry on Monday.

Meanwhile, on Monday, 13 military officers were detained in 7 provinces across Turkey by police following the detention warrants issued by Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Merzifon district of Amasya for 14 on duty military officers over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Police have also detained 5 prosecutors, judges and lawyers in various provinces across Turkey on Monday following the detention warrants were issued by the Tokat Chief Prosecutor’s Office for them over their alleged links to the movement. The detainees were reportedly transferred to Tokat.

Separately, Adana Chief  Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 8 people on Monday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement and allegedly using mobile phone messaging application ByLock. Also, in southern Adana province 5 people were detained in various raids.

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

In another operation targeting the educators over their alleged links to the Gülen movement on Monday in Edirne province 5 people were detained by police. Police have also seized computers and documents belonging to the detainees during the raid.

Moreover, 3 people, including a non-commissioned officer, were also detained in Mardin, Ankara, and Kırşehir provinces following detention warrants issued by Kırşehir Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

Also on Monday, 3 people, M.K (38), N.K (35) Y.A (26), were detained by gendarmerie units in Üyüklütatar village of Edirne province as they were allegedly trying to flee from persecution of despotic regime of Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Greece. The detainees who were reportedly sought over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, were arrested by a local court and sent to prison on the same day.

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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