Turkish gov’t detains 267 people last week over their alleged links to Gülen movement

Turkish government has detained 267 people in investigations as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement in the week of August 7-14, 2017 in number of provinces across Turkey, according to a written statement made by Turkish Interior Ministry on Monday.

The government has also detained 152 people over their alleged terror propaganda on social media in the same period. According to the statement of Interior Ministry, Turkish police department has investigated 2,703 social media users and detained 152 out of 1,264 social media users who were identified.

Meanwhile, in a Sakarya-based investigation as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement, 20 more people were detained by police teams in 10 provinces on Monday.

Following the detention warrants issued by Sakarya Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 20 people over their alleged use of ByLock mobile phone messaging application, police teams detained 20 people in Sakarya, Ankara, İstanbul, Niğde, Düzce, Eskişehir, Zonguldak, Kocaeli, Çankırı and Bingöl provinces.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a Gülen movement member as they see the mobile phone application as the top communication tool among the group. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

On Monday, also, two brother non-commissioned officers were detained in northern Cyprus over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that the number of books written by Fethullah Gülen were seized by the police at the house of the detained brothers.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President 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. 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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