Turkish gov’t detains 545 people for alleged links to Gülen movement over last week

The Turkish government has detained 545 people across Turkey over the past week (May 21-May 28) as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, according to a written statement released by the Interior Ministry on Monday.

Police detained a total of 10,472 people over alleged links to the movement in the first four months of 2018.

The Turkish government detained 50 people across Turkey on Monday for their alleged links to the Gülen movement. In the western province of Manisa, security forces detained 10 military officers on Monday, while 16 people, mostly academics, were detained in the eastern province of Ağrı after a prosecutor’s office issued detention warrants due to their alleged links to the movement.

Two people were also detained in the southern and northwestern Turkish provinces of Osmaniye and Balıkesir, respectively.

On Sunday, 25 military officers were detained in Kars, Ankara, İstanbul, Antalya, Tunceli, Şırnak, Denizli, Mardin, Konya, Kayseri, Hatay, Tekirdağ, Kırklareli, Balıkesir, Sivas, Kahramanmaraş, Çanakkale, Hakkari and Bilecik provinces over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The detentions came after the issuance of detention warrants for two colonels, two lieutenant colonels,  two majors, two captains, six lieutenants, nine noncommissioned officers and two special sergeants in a Kars-based investigation into the movement.

Also on Sunday, a person was detained by police in Karabük province over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

In Trabzon, 11 people, including teachers and two academics from Karadeniz Technical University (KTÜ), were detained by police on Sunday over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

In Eskişehir province, a noncommissioned officer was detained over his alleged links to movement on Sunday as part of an investigation carried out by the Manisa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

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.

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