Turkish gov’t detains dozens across Turkey over alleged links to Gülen movement

File photo.

Amid a non-stop witch-hunt targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, Turkish government has issued detention warrants or tens of people on Tuesday while dozens of people were detained over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Sixteen people have been detained in Samsun province on accusations that they use a smart phone application known as ByLock as Kayseri Chief Prosecutor Office has issued detention warrants for 19 people over their alleged use of ByLock. Police have detained 14 people in Kayseri, Ankara and Şanlıurfa provinces on Tuesday.

Also in a Bingöl-based probe, police have detained 5 people in Bingöl, Elazığ and Batman provinces on Tuesday following the detention warrants issued by the Chief Prosecutor Office in Bingöl for 5 people over their alleged use of 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, Gökçebey district gendarmerie commander B.K was also detained in Zonguldak province over his alleged links to Gülen movement on Tuesday.

Detention warrants were also issued for 9 former police officers on suspicion of Gülen movement links as part of an investigation launched in Malatya province. Six of the police officers, including 3 police chiefs, have been detained, while three are still at large.

In a similar development, detention warrants were issued for 17 people over alleged links to Gülen movement as part of a Kırşehir-based investigation. Police have embarked on operations to detain suspects in four provinces including Kırşehir.

Police have also detained 10 lawyers, and judges, prosecutors, who were dismissed previously from their duties by a government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, in Tokat province on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, 18 out of 28 people, who were detained in Siirt province, were arrested by a local court and sent to prison over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that the arrestees include 17 military officers, non-commissioned officers and a teacher.

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that 643 people have been detained in one week due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, accused by the government of masterminding a botched coup attempt last summer. The ministry had also announced on Oct. 16 that 947 people had been detained the previous week.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with autocratic President 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’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. Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15 through government decrees issued as part of the state of emergency.

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