Turkish security forces detained 12 people, including a former district governor, five children and three women, on Sunday in the Kuşadası district of Aydın province as they were trying to flee to Greece from the persecution of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
According to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, police and the Turkish coast guard detained 12 people, including Boztape district governor Cihan Kayaalp, as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement. It was also reported that Kayaalp has been sentenced to prison over his alleged links to the movement.
The other detainees were identified as F.H., a teacher who used to work at a school that was closed down by the government over its affiliation with the Gülen movement; S.K., a teacher dismissed from their job; F.T. a dismissed tax inspector; housewife A.D.; and M.E., a dismissed inspector who worked for the Credit and Dormitory Institution.
Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the AKP government along with President 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