Turkish gov’t detains 809 people in one week over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that 809 people have been detained in one week due to alleged links to the Gülen movement. The ministry had announced on Oct. 2 that 998 people had been detained the previous week.

Fifteen people, including doctors, students and teachers, were detained in Kahramanmaras province as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement on Monday over their alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock. Police seized digital materials belonging to the suspects, during raids.

Meanwhile, Ergin Dağ, the husband of Songül Hacıoğlu Dağ, who is the provincial chairman of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Yalova, was arrested by a local court over his alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock on Sunday.

Dağ was detained by police together with 4 others who allegedly gave financial support to the Gülen movement and alleged use of ByLock. The court has arrested 2 people and sent to the prison while it has released 3 people with judicial probation.

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and housemakers, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkey survived a controversial 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 Erdoğan pinned the blame on the  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. Turkish government has also suspended or dismissed more than 150,000  judges, teachers, police and civil servants after the coup attempt. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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