Turkish gov’t detains 25 people over alleged links to Gülen movement

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The Turkish government detained 25 people, including 10 active duty military officers and a judge, on Tuesday as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

The Muğla Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday issued detention warrants for 20 active duty military members as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. According to the report, 10 of the 20 officers have been detained in police operations in 11 Turkish provinces.

Also on Tuesday, four people were detained by police in Ankara, İstanbul, Balıkesir and Gaziantep provinces as part of an investigation into Technocity at Hacettepe University due to its suspected affiliation with the Gülen movement. The detentions came following the issuance of detention warrants by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for seven people. All detainees were reportedly transferred to Ankara.

On Monday, police detained 11 people, including judge İsmail Kurt, doctors, engineers and teachers, together with their family members in a border area of Edirne province as they were reportedly trying to flee to Greece from the persecution of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Greece. It was reported that judge Kurt was part of a panel of judges that tried military personnel who were accused of military espionage in İzmir in the early 2010s.

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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