Turkish gov’t detains dozens of people over alleged links to Gülen movement on Thursday

Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement has continued with dozens of detentions on Thursday across Turkey.

Turkish police have detained 25 people in Diyarbakır province on Thursday on accusations that they use a smart phone application known as ByLock. It was reported that the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 47 people due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, İzmir police have detained 41 people in İzmir, Konya and İstanbul provinces on Thursday following detention warrants issued by İzmir Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 49 people over their alleged use of ByLock.

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among followers of the faith-based Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and housemakers, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkish police on Thursday detained nine civil servants in Malatya province due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement following detention warrants were issued for 12 people as part of an investigation overseen by the Malatya Chief Prosecutor’s Office into the movement.

An anti-terror team detained nine civil servants working at public hospitals and the police department and for the Ministry of Defense. Some of the suspects had already been dismissed from their jobs, while others were still working when they were detained.

Tokat police have also detained 12 people on Thursday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that there are 5 judges, 5 lawyers and a teacher, who were dismissed from their public duties by the government under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, among the detainees.

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 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’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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