Turkish gov’t detains 334 people over links to Gülen movement in past week

The Turkish government detained a total of 334 people last week (July 30-August 6) as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the Turkish Interior Ministry on Monday.

Police took 15,190 people into custody over alleged links to the movement in the first half of 2018.

Meanwhile, Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for nine active duty and former military officers as part of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

According to a statement by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, the warrants were issued for personnel of the Turkish Land Forces Command, including two officers. They have been accused of periodically communicating with alleged members of the movement with pre-paid phone cards and pay phones.

Also on Monday, police detained 29 military officers in 20 provinces across Turkey following the issuance of detention warrants by the Kilis Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for 31 military officers over alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that 14 are still their on active duty.

Separately, at least 24 people, including dismissed police officers, were detained in western Bursa province on Monday. The Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had issued arrest warrants for former 25 police officers who were previously dismissed from their jobs for alleged links to the Gülen movement.

In a separate police raid in two locations in Bursa city center on Monday, police detained three people on suspicion of links to the Gülen movement.

On Saturday, 12 more people had been detained on the same accusation in Bursa province.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Turkey have been the subject of legal proceedings in the last two years on charges of membership in the Gülen movement since a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, a Turkish Justice Ministry official told a symposium on July 19, 2018.

“Legal proceedings have been carried out against 445,000 members of this organisation,” Turkey’s pro-government Islamist news agency İLKHA quoted Turkish Justice Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Ömer Faruk Aydıner as saying.

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 about 170,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15, 2016. 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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