Turkish gov’t detains 20 people in Manisa over their alleged links to Gülen movement

Turkish government has detained 20 people on Wednesday in Manisa province in an investigation as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Following the detention warrants issued by Manisa Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 20 people over their alleged use of mobile phone application ByLock, Turkish police teams have organized simultanous raids to houses of the suspects and detained them.

Meanwhile, an Erzurum court has decided to arrest 12 out of 18 people and sent them to prison over their alleged links to the Gülen movement on Wednesday by basing of their alleged use of ByLock. Detention warrants were issued for 24 people and 18 of them were detained by police previously.

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.

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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