Turkish gov’t detains 721 people in one week over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that 721 people have been detained in one week due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. 467 people were detained in first week of 2018 on suspicion of links to the Gülen movement.

A Turkish prosecutor in Kırıkkale province on Wednesday has issued arrest warrants for 31 military officers, mostly are on-duty, over their alleged links to the Gülen movement

Turkish security forces have carried out simultaneous operations in 17 provinces as well as in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) after the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Kırıkkale, issued detention warrants. It was reported that the suspects, including 27 soldiers, two former soldiers, and two suspended army school students, are accused of having links to the movement.

Also, Turkish police on Wednesday detained 10 people across Turkey for their alleged links to the Gülen movement. A total of 5 people have been detained in Turkey’s Aegean province of Manisa. The suspects have been accused of using ByLock, an mobile phone messaging application. Also in Manisa, a court remanded in custody a suspect who was detained along with seven others on Jan. 15.

An İstanbul high criminal court has ruled on Wednesday for the release of 33 police officers who were arrested for alleged use of a smart phone application known as ByLock. At the 23rd hearing of a trial of 84 suspects at the İstanbul 14th High Criminal Court on Wednesday, the court ruled for the release of the 33 police officers considering time already served as well as taking into accountan examination of the results of their mobile phones, which produced no criminal evidence against the suspects.

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among the 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 using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Five more people were detained in Turkey’s southeastern province of Gaziantep over their alleged links to the movement on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, detention warrants were issued on Monday for 81 people who work for High Education Foundation, as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. According to the report, as part of an İstanbul-based investigation, police launched operations in 21 provinces, and detained 45 of 81 people.

High Education Foundation is reported to be owning hundreds of youth hostiles which were seized by government before and after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The Gülen movement is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016. The movement strongly denies any involvement.

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.

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

The Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 169,013 people 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 an ongoing state of emergency declared after the coup attempt.

According to Ministry of Justice data, there are currently 384 prisons with a capacity of 207,279 in Turkey; however, the total number of inmates was 228,983 as of October 2017.

The Ministry of Justice plans to build 228 new prisons with a capacity of 137,687 in the next five years. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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