Turkish gov’t detains 347 military officers in a week over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish government has detained 347 military personnel, including high-ranking officers on active duty, in the week between July 2 and July 8 as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

According to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency on Sunday, 347 military personnel were detained in 14 investigations launched across Turkey in the past week.

Within this framework, 10 noncommissioned officers were detained in a Tokat-based investigation in Adana, Ankara, Gümüşhane, Hakkari, Isparta, Kocaeli, Manisa, Mardin, Ordu and Tekirdağ provinces following detention warrants issued for 13 military personnel.

Nineteen military officers were also detained in Ankara province after the issuance of detention warrants for 68 military members, including 22 colonels and 27 lieutenant colonels over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

In a Çanakkale-based investigation, 20 active duty military officers were detained following the issuance of detention warrants for 26 military members, while 18 military officers were detained as part of an investigation launched by the Zonguldak Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

In Denizli province, seven military personnel, including five cadets, were detained, as 16 military members were detained in Bitlis province. Also, 16 military personnel were detained in Erzincan province following the issuance of detention warrants for 22 military personnel including 17 active duty military officers.

Sixty-five military officers were detained by the Turkish government in İzmir province following the issuance of the detention warrants for 75 military personnel including 59 military officers over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Twenty-six military personnel, including active duty officers and cadets, were detained as part of an investigation launched by the Manisa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Moreover, 102 active duty military officers were detained following the issuance of detention warrants by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for 271 military personnel over alleged Gülen links.

Meanwhile, two out of seven military officers who were detained were arrested as part of a probe carried out by the Uşak Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, as 17 officers in Sakarya province, 15 in Bilecik province and nine in Malatya province were detained over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government also dismissed 649 military personnel from the Gendarmerie General Command, 3,077 from the Land Forces Command, 1,126 from the Naval Forces Command and 1,949 from the Air Force Command as part of 18,632 public employees who were ousted from their posts by a government decree issued on Sunday under a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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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