Turkish gov’t detains 119 people over links to Gülen movement in past week

The Turkish government has detained a total of 119 people over the past week (June 11-June 18) as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the Turkish Interior Ministry on Monday.

Police took 13,604 people into custody over alleged links to the movement in the first five months of 2018.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu claimed on Monday that “the danger posed by FETÖ is not yet over.”

“FETÖ” is a derogatory term coined by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to refer to the Gülen movement.

“We cannot say the danger of FETÖ is over,” Soylu claimed in a live interview with state-run broadcaster TRT Haber, pointing out that the government’s massive and indiscriminate post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement is only half complete.

Highlighting the Turkish government’s crackdown on the Gülen movement, Soylu compared the movement to a matryoshka doll. “If you open one, you will find another inside it. Your hands should be relaxed in order to get to the last of them.”

Soylu also added that permanent arrangements regarding the Gülen movement could be made after the July 24 parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey.

The minister also claimed that recent information about top coup suspect Adil Öksüz’s presence in Germany was correct, saying, “It is certain that he [Adil Öksüz] was in Germany a while ago.”

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, which has collaborated with Turkey’s National Intelligence Organisation (MİT), revealed last week that the 51-year-old suspect stayed for some time at a small apartment in Berlin’s Neukoelln district. Turkish officials have repeatedly appealed to the German government to arrest and extradite Öksüz after receiving dozens of tips indicating he was hiding in Germany.

When asked about Öksüz’s current location Soylu said, “We don’t have any information on whether he went to some other place [from Germany] or not. but it is known that he was in Germany a while ago.” Soylu also said that “the information leaked by Germans is not incorrect.”

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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