Turkish gov’t detains dozens, mostly military officers, over alleged links to Gülen movement

File photo.

Turkish government has detained dozens of people on Tuesday as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement.

In an İzmir-based investigation, 14 people were detained by gendarmerie teams on Tuesday in İzmir, Bitlis, İstanbul, Van, Uşak, Manisa, Denizli and Afyonkarahisar provinces. It was reported that the detainees include 1 military officers who were dismissed by a government decree and 2 non-commissioned military officers on their active duties. I was also said that 6 of the detainees have allegedly used mobile phone messaging application ByLock.

Meanwhile, 28 people including 24 military officers, who are on their active duties, were detained in Kocaeli province on Tuesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement following the detention warrants issued by Körfez Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 27 military officers. It was also reported that for 5 people from various professions were also issued detention warrants by Kocaeli Chief Prosecutor’s Office and 4 of them were detained by police on Tuesday 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 even housewives, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Moreover, Siirt Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 22 people over their alleged links to the Gülen movement on Tuesday. Police teams have detained 18 people including 13 military officers, non-commissioned officers and 3 teachers who are on their active duties.

At least 19 people were detained on Tuesday in İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Antalya, Bursa, Malatya, Eskişehir, Gaziantep, Şanlıurfa, Konya, Muğla, Manisa, Adıyaman and Muş provinces in a Diyarbakır-based investigation targeting those who have alleged links to the now-closed Kimse Yok mu charity organisation which was affiliated with the Gülen movement. The detentions came following the detention warrants issued by Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 32 people who were also accused of using ByLock.

Also in Antalya province, former 4 executives of 2 companies which were appointed trustees by Turkish government were detained on Tuesday over their alleged financial support to the Gülen movement.

Eleven people were detained by police teams in Kahramanmaraş province on Monday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Furthermore, the state-run Anadolu news agency has reported on Tuesday that at least 60 people, who have been affiliated with the Gülen movement, have been detained while trying to flee to Greece and Bulgaria. The report said that majority of them were detained in the northwestern Edirne province.

Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government under the rule of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan against the sympathisers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government cancelled their passports like thousands of others.

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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