Turkish gov’t detains 10 military personnel over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish government on Saturday detained 12 people, including 10 military members on active duty, in a Kahramanmaraş-based investigation as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

According to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, police conducted simultaneous raids in Kahramanmaraş, Ankara, Kayseri, Erzurum, Niğde, Şırnak, İzmir, Siirt, Edirne, Samsun, Batman, Elazığ, Hakkari and Bursa provinces as part of an investigation carried out by the Kahramanmaraş Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The detainees reportedly include nine noncommissioned officers and an specialist sergeant from the Land and Air Forces and the gendarmerie.

Meanwhile, a 73-year-old Turkish man, identified by the initials O.E.C., was taken to a hospital as his health had deteriorated after being detained. O.E.C. was reportedly detained as part of an investigation targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement in Isparta province on Saturday.

The man was detained at his home in Isparta’s Uluborlu district and then taken to a hospital. Following the initial treatment the police took him to Aydın, a western province 250 kilometers away from Isparta where the investigation originated. However, his health worsened on the way and he was returned to the hospital again.

According to reports in the Turkish media, O.E.C. has several medical problems including diabetes, cardiac disease and high blood pressure, due to which his family members are attempting to have O.E.C. stand trial without being put in pretrial detention.

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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