Turkish gov’t detains 25 people, including military officers, over alleged links to Gülen movement

Arrested officer

Turkish government has detained 15 people, including military officers on active duties, in 14 provinces on Thursday following the detention warrants issued by Aydın Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 21 people over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The people were reportedly detained by police teams in Aydın, Ankara, İzmir, Mardin, Muğla, Hatay, Konya, Eskişehir, Kırıkkale, Nevşehir, Şanlıurfa, Kilis, Diyarbakır, Balıkesir provinces of Turkey.

Also in Kars province, 9 people were detained by police on Thursday over their alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock. Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among followers of the faith-based Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen, and housemakers, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (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.

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