Turkish gov’t detains 18 military officers, 12 police officers over their alleged Gülen links

Arrested officer

Turkish government has detained 17 military officers, 12 police officers in two investigations carried out in Sivas and İstanbul provinces as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement on Saturday.

It was reported that police have detained 17 military officers in 12 provinces following detention warrants issued by Sivas Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 8 military officers and 9 non-commissioned officers. The officers are reportedly on active duties except one who was dismissed by an arbitrary government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Also on Saturday, navy major İbrahim C. and his wife Fatma C., who is a teacher, were detained by gendermarie in Erfelek district of Sinop province over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that the detained major was planned to be transferred to İstanbul as his teacher wife will be kept under police custody in Sinop province.

Meanwhile, 12 police officers, who were dismissed from their duties previously by arbitrary government decrees under the rule of emergency, were detained on Saturday in 9 provinces in an İstanbul-based investigation targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement. It was reported that the detentions came following detention warrants issued for 19 former police officers over their alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a member of the Gülen movement and as the top communication tool among members of the movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for allegedly using ByLock since the failed coup attempt last year.

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 Turkey’s autocratic 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. 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.


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