Turkish gov’t detains at least 61, including Gülen’s nephew, over links to Gülen movement

Turkish governement has detained at least 61 people, including Selman Gülen who is a nephew of the US-based Turkish-Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen on Wednesday as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Turkish police has detained 57 people in Ankara. Detentions came following the warrants issued by Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 87 people over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. In the framework of the witch hunt, Ankara’s anti-terror teams raided 65 different locations across the city, which were said to be used as hideouts to carry out organizational activities and hold secret meetings. Selman Gülen, a nephew of Fetullah Gülen, is among the detainees.

Critics often blast the government for a massive purge it is carrying out that violates the principle of individual criminal responsibility.

Also on Wednesday, 4 on-duty military officers were detained by Turkish government over their alleged links to the Gülen movement in Bursa, Van, Edirne provinces and in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC).

Meanwhile, a Şanlıurfa couple, both teachers who were removed from their government jobs over their alleged ties to the Gülen movement, was given 6 years, 10 months and 22 days in jail on Monday.

State-run Anadolu news agency reported on Monday that O.K. and his wife Y.K. was given each 6 years, 10 months plus 22 days jail time on charges of membership to a “terrorist organization.” Among the evidence for the imprisonment are the couple’s alleged use of ByLock mobile phone app, their money transactions at Bank Asya and membership to educators’ union Aktif Eğitim-Sen.

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.

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, 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. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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