Turkish gov’t detains at least 43 people over alleged links to Gülen movement

Turkish government has detained at least 43 people as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement on Wednesday, according to state-run Anatolia news agency.

According to the report 43 people were detained during police operations in 12 provinces including the capital Ankara as well as İstanbul, Bursa and Konya provinces.

It was reported that 2 on-duty military officers were among the 17 detained over alleged links to the Gülen movement in an operation on Wednesday based in Turkey’s northern Black Sea coastal city of Zonguldak, while 3 people were reportedly still being sought.

Meanwhile, 9 people in the central province of Tokat were detained over their alleged use of 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.

In an Aksaray-based probe 17 people, including 9 dismissed teachers and a military officer, were detained across 4 provinces for allegedly having links to the Gülen movement, while two people remain on the loose.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempton 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.

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