Turkish gov’t detains 17 people in Çanakkale, 10 teachers in Malatya over alleged Gülen links

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Turkish government detained dozens of new victims on Tuesday as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement.

In Çanakkale province, 17 people were detained by police forces over their alleged use of controversial mobile phone messaging application ByLock. It was reported that following the detention warrants issued by Çanakkale Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 25 people, police teams raided 25 houses and detained 17 people from various professions on Tuesday.

After the detentions 4 of the detainees were released after their testimonies at the local police department while 5 of them were transferred to the provincial courthouse. The intterogations of other 8 detainees have been reportedly continuing at police department on Tuesday.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a member of the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The mobile phone application ByLock is seen as the top communication tool among members of the group. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the controversial coup attempt.

Meanwhile, the number of detainees has increased to 30 as 3 more people were detained by police in a Kocaeli-based investigation as part of post-coup witch hunt targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement on Tuesday. Kocaeli Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 32 people and 27 of them were detained previously. It was reported that 28 of them are military officers on active duty, 2 of them are dismissed military officers and 2 of them are civillians.

Moreover, 10 teachers, who were previously dismissed from their duties by government decrees under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, were detained by police on Tuesday in Malatya province over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch AKP government along with Turkey’s autocratic 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’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15.

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