Turkish gov’t detains, arrests dozens over their alleged links to Gülen movement on Thursday

Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged followers of the Gülen movement has continued on Thursday with dozens of new detentions and new arrests in several provinces of Turkey.

Turkish police detained 38 people, who used to be personnel in Turkey’s Ministry of Custom and Trade, and dismissed by government decrees under the rule of emergency, in an Ankara-based investigation as part of post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement on Thursday over their alleged use of mobilephone messaging application ByLock. Following the detention warrants issued by Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 38 people police detained all of them in 9 provinces.

Moreover, after Aksaray Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detentions warrants for 36 people over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, police detained 25 people in Aksaray, Ağrı, Ankara, Gaziantep, Kütahya, Mersin, Hatay and Trabzon provinces on Thursday.

Following detention warrants issued by Bayburt Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 8 people, including military students, over their alleged use of ByLock, police detained 8 people in Bayburt, Ankara, Ağrı, Eskişehir and Kayseri provinces on Thursday.

Also in Kocaeli province Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 9 people who used to work for TÜBİTAK over their alleged use of ByLock. Police detained 4 of them on Thursday.

Five people, including Karaağaç village’s mukhtar and shopkeepers, were detained by Turkish police in Bozüyük disctrict of Bilecik province over their alleged links to the Gülen movement on Thursday.

In Çeşme district of İzmir province, police detained 6 people over their alleged links to the Gülen movement on Wednesday. It was reported that 2 of the suspects have allegedly used ByLock.

Also on Thursday 25 former police officers were arrested by an Ankara court and sent to prison over their alleged use of ByLock and alleged links to the Gülen movement. Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 105 former police officers and 29 of them were detained by police on July 21, 2017. Three of them were released by the prosecutor office after taking their testimonies and one was released by the court with judicial probe.

A Giresun court, on Thursday, has also arrested 10 out of 16 people who were detained over their alleged use of ByLock on July 22, 2017. The court has released 2 people with the condition of judicial probe while 4 people are still under police custody in Giresun province.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock indicates membership in the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the controversial coup attempt last year.

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. 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.

July 27, 2017

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