Turkish gov’t detains 26 more military officers over links to Gülen movement

Arrested officer

Twenty six active duty soldiers have been detained in Kocaeli as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement.

The military members were taken into custody upon the issuance of warrants by the Körfez Public Prosecutor’s Office, although details of the accusations were not made public.

Yesterday, 19 members from the Naval Forces Command were detained upon the issuance of warrants for 31 active duty and three retired military members by the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office.

On May 14, 72 soldiers from the Turkish Land Forces were also taken into custody on accusations of secretly communicating by pay phone.

Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli stated on April 18 that the government has identified 3,000 active duty military officers of varying ranks suspected of alleged links to the Gülen movement and that they would be dismissed with a government decree, which has not yet been issued.

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. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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