Turkish gov’t detains 643 people in one week over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that 643 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 Oct. 16 that 947 people had been detained the previous week.

Meanwhile, A total of 10 people were detained near Turkey’s maritime border with Greece with most of them escaping from the government’s post-coup crackdown on Monday. Turkish coast guard in Muğla stopped a speedboat off the shores of the resort town of Turgutreis, and rounded up 10 Turkish nationals along with 2 Ukrainian citizens, who are believed to have facilitated the illegal departure attempt as smugglers.

The suspects had reportedly gathered to sail through the Greek island of Kos. Detainees include four children and two women and that half of them were accused of having links to the Gülen movement in earlier investigations. Amid the post-coup crackdown, many people attempted illegal entry into Greece, with some arrested near the border and, on some occasions, drowning in the Evros River, the border between the two countries.

Another Turkish man, identified as Z.S., was also detained after he attempted to leave Turkey to Bulgaria with his passport, which, he later found out, had been cancelled by the government in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. It has become common in the post-coup Turkey that the government cancels Gülen-linked peoples’ passports, falsely registering them as lost or stolen.

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 Turkey’s autocratic 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, 2016. 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. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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