Turkish gov’t detains at least 77 people over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish government detained at least 77 people across Turkey on Friday as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Police detained 30 people in Ankara early Friday following the issuance of detention warrants by the provincial chief public prosecutor’s office for 43 people over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Also on Friday, the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 38 military members in 18 provinces, after which 20 of them were detained by police over alleged links to the Gülen movement. The detainees reportedly include active duty military officers.

In a Kahramanmaraş-based probe into alleged members of the Gülen movement, police detained 11 noncommissioned officers serving with the land, air and gendarmerie forces on Friday during operations in 12 provinces.

Police also detained 14 people over their alleged links to the movement and their alleged use of the ByLock mobile phone messaging application in Bursa on Friday.

Moroever, the Hakkari Governor’s Office announced that two people were detained by police in İzmir province on May 21 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. These two people, identified as R.K. and N.K., were arrested by a local court and sent to pretrial detention on Friday.

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 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. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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