Turkish gov’t detains 586 in one week over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that 586 people have been detained in one week due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, accused by the government of masterminding a botched coup attempt last summer.

The ministry announced on Nov. 6 that 674 people had been detained the previous week.

A total of 3,158 people were detained in October in a witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, at least 17 people were detained across Turkey on Monday over alleged links to the Gülen movement. In Aydın province, 11 people were detained during simultaneous raids on several addresses. Digital data materials were also seized during the raids. A teacher, who was dismissed by government decree under the rule of emergency, was also arrested in Aydın during a police road check.

In northwestern Edirne province, another teacher, who was dismissed by government decree under the rule of emergency over his alleged links to the Gülen movement was detained at the Turkey-Greece border during a patrol in a military zone.

Separately, four teachers were detained following Aksaray Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued warrants in four provinces, including Ankara, Konya and Kırşehir as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement.

At least 10 people were detained near Turkey’s Greek border in Edirne province, media reported on Monday. Gendarmerie caught 10 people in Edirne’s Doyran village and seized their inflatable boat as well as waterproof clothing. The detainees include a Turkish man, identified by his initials Y.Y., who is reported to be a follower of the Gülen movement and the movement’s alleged representative in Colombia.

Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government cancelled their passports like thousands of others.

Moreover, Turkish courts on Monday handed jail terms to two people, including a former police official, for their alleged links to the Gülen movement. The 13th High Criminal Court in the western province of İzmir sentenced a person to 7 years and 6 months in prison for being “a member of the armed terrorist organization.”

Also, in southeastern Şanlıurfa province, the 6th High Criminal Court sentenced a police official, who was sacked for his alleged links to the Gülen movement, to 8 years in prison.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President 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’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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

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