Turkish gov’t detains dozens over alleged links to Gülen movement on Tuesday

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

Turkish government has detained 31 military officers, non-commissioned officers and 1 police officers in İstanbul, Ankara, Balıkesir, Bursa, Çanakkale, Mardin, Şanlıurfa, Erzurum, Ağrı, Kars, Şırnak, Kilis, Gaziantep, Giresun, İzmir, Tekirdağ, Elazığ and Hakkari provinces following the detention warrants issued by Sivas Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 37 military officers and 1 police officer on Tuesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that 29 out of 31 detained military officers including a colonel in İzmir and non-commissioned officers are on their active duties.

Also in Turgutlu district of Manisa province, 2 non-commissioned military officers, who were dismissed by government decree under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, were detained on Tuesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that 2 military officers were detained by a local court and sent to prison.

Meanwhile, 14 former Turkish National Intelligence Organisation (MİT) personnel who were detained following detention warrants issued by Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office were arrested by a Penal Court of Peace in Ankara on Tuesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. The court has released 1 out of 15 detained former MİT personnel with judicial probation. In a post-coup witch hunt probe 87 MİT personnel had been dismissed and Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office had issued detention warrants for 45 of them and 18 people who have relations with these MİT personnel.

Moreover, following the detention warrants issued by Aksaray Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 18 people over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, 17 people were also detained by police teams in Aksaray and Hatay provinces on early Tuesday. It was reported that some of the detainees, who consist of doctors, nurses and hospital technicians, dismissed from their official posts by government decrees under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Also in Konya province, 11 people were detained by police teams on early Tuesday over their alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock following detention warrants were issued by Konya Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 17 people who are executives of some private companies.

Turkish government has also detained 27 people on Tuesday in Turkey’s 12 provinces including Siirt, Adana, Ankara, Çorum, Gaziantep, Giresun, İstanbul, Kayseri, Kırşehir, Konya, Osmaniye and Tokat in a Siirt-based investigation targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement following detentions warrants issued by Siirt Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 33 people over their alleged use of ByLock. It was reported that there are police officers, public officials and private sector professionals among the detainees.

On Tuesday, following the detention warrants issued by Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 34 teachers over their alleged links to the Gülen movement and their alleged use of ByLock, police teams have detained 15 teachers in six provinces of Turkey.

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.

Also in Isparta province, 4 lawyers were detained by police teams on Tuesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, 4 out of 6 detainees were arrested by a local court and sent to prison in Çanakkale province on early Tuesday. 2 detainees were released by the same court with judicial probation. In an investigation targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement 25 people have been detained by police in Çanakkale, İzmir and Bursa.

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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