Turkish gov’t detains at least 107 people over alleged links to Gülen movement on Monday

Arrested officer

Turkish government has detained at least 107 people across Turkey over their alleged links to Gülen movement on Monday. The detainees included 35 military officers on their active duties. It was reported by state-run Anadolu news agency that 20 of them were sergeants from Turkish Air Forces.

Also on Monday, 15 military officers, who are on their active duties, were detained in 12 provinces as part of an Aydın-based investigation targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement.

It was claimed that most of the detainees have been accused of using mobile phone messaging application ByLock. 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 homemakers, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Meanwhile, three people including a former high-level police chief were detained in northwestern province of Edirne while they were attempting to cross the border into Bulgaria. Moreover, Sadettin Koçak, former police chief of Diyarbakır’s Sur district, who was dismissed by a government decree over his alleged links to the Gülen movement and his brother Sadi Koçak were detained by police as they were trying to flee from Turkey to Greece.

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.

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