Turkish gov’t detains 568 people in one week over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that 568 people have been detained in the past week due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The Interior Ministry announced on March 19 that 537 people had been taken into custody the previous week due to alleged links to the movement. Turkish police detained a total of 4,725 people over suspected links to the movement in the first two months of 2018.

Meanwhile, Turkish police detained at least 33 people across Turkey on Monday over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

An Ankara prosecutor on Monday issued arrest warrants for 56 people who have alleged links to Gülen movement. The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 36 military personnel in the Turkish Air Forces over their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement. It was reported that 16 of the 36 have been detained in police raids across nine provinces over their alleged use of the ByLock mobile phone messaging application.

As part of the same investigation detention warrants have been issued for 20 civilians in five provinces, according to a statement by a public prosecutor’s office.

Separately, in a Kırşehir-based operation, security forces detained 10 active duty military officers in simultaneous raids on Monday. The detentions took place in Mersin, Hatay, Diyarbakır, Edirne, Çanakkale and Ağrı provinces.

In northern Tokat province, six out of seven people were detained on Monday as part of an investigation into an alleged “judges and prosecutors house” affiliated with the Gülen movement.

In a Tunceli-based probe, six active duty military officers and five police officers were detained on Monday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. The military officers were referred to a court, which released them on judicial probation in the framework of the detainees’ demand to benefit from the active remorse law.

Additionally, a businessman was detained in northwestern Edirne province when he was preparing to illegally cross into Greece.

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government pursued a crackdown on the Gülen movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which the inner circle of the government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated.

Erdoğan also accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Despite the movement strongly denying involvement in the failed coup, Erdoğan launched a witch-hunt targeting the movement following the putsch.

A total of 62,895 people were detained in 2017 as part of investigations into the movement, according to Interior Ministry reports.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Jan. 5 said 48,305 people were jailed in 2017 alone over Gülen movement links.

Soylu said on Dec. 12 that 55,665 people have been jailed and 234,419 passports have been revoked as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup.

On Nov. 16 Soylu had said eight holdings and 1,020 companies were seized as part of operations against the movement.

The number of people who have been investigated for alleged ties to the faith-based Gülen movement reached 402,000 in March, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on March 15.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and other civil servants since July 15, 2016 through government decrees issued as part of an ongoing state of emergency declared after the coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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