Turkish gov’t detains 478 people over links to Gülen movement in past week

File photo.

The Turkish government detained a total of 478 people last week (Sept.17-Sept.24) 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.

A total of 18,128 people had been detained over alleged links to the movement by the end of August 2018.

Meanwhile, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Monday issued detention warrants for 18 active duty and 43 military members purged from the land and naval forces as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement, the Cumhuriyet daily reported.

The same office on Friday had issued detention warrants for 110 members of the Turkish Air Forces including six pilots over alleged links to the movement.

The Turkish government has dismissed over 40,000 military personnel including gendarmerie and military cadets over alleged links to the movement since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Also on Monday, 21 people were detained in İstanbul over their alleged links to Gülen movement. The police conducted raids on 54 locations in 24 districts of the city and detained 21 people over their alleged use of ByLock mobile phone messaging application and taking part in the educational activities of the movement.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is a communication tool among alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and even housewives, have either been dismissed or arrested for allegedly using ByLock since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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 organization,” 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.

Take a second to support SCF on Patreon!