Turkish gov’t detains 19 more naval force personnel over links to Gülen movement

Turkish police detained 19 Naval Forces personnel in seven provinces for their alleged links to the Gülen movement on Tuesday as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the movement.

The detentions came after the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued warrants for 34 people, including 31 active duty Naval Forces officers including colonels and lieutenant colonels.

The Turkish government has detained 967 people across Turkey over the past week (May 7-May 14) as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, according to a written statement released by the Interior Ministry on Monday.

Police detained a total of 10,472 people over alleged links to the movement in the first four months of 2018.

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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