Turkish gov’t detains dozens of people, sentences 114 for imprisonment over alleged links to Gülen movement

Turkish government has issued detention warrants for dozens of people as it detained tens of them including military officers while İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court has sentenced 114 people, who used to be staff of court houses in İstanbul, to prison terms between 1 year and 6 months to 12 years on Friday as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of Gülen movement.

At least 14 people including former Prime Ministry’s employees have been detained in the capital Ankara for their alleged links to the movement on Friday. The detentions came after warrants have been issued for 20 people, including three justice ministry’s employees, according to a statement issued by Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office. The other 17 suspects are former Prime Ministry employees, the statement said.

Separately, dozens of suspects have been detained across Turkey after İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 56 suspects, who are accused of using the mobile phone messaging application ByLock on Friday. Police have conducted simultaneous raids in 19 provinces including İzmir, Kayseri and Adıyaman provinces. Turkey state-run Anadolu news agency reported that “the hunt for suspects is ongoing.”

Following the detention warrants issued by Mersin Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 32 military personnel, including on-duty military officers, non-commissioned officers and expert sergeants, on Friday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, a lieutenant who has been wanted as part of an Ağrı-based probe targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement was detained on Kapıkule Border Gate as he returns from Bosnia-Herzegovinia to Turkey on Friday. It was reported that lieutenant named M.G., who has been on duty in a Turkish military unit in Bosnia, was detained during his passport check in the border gate. As part of an Ağrı-based investigation detention warrants issued for 32 on-duty military officers and 30 of them were detained in 11 provinces. Ten of these detainees were arrested by a court and put behind the bars.

On Friday, also Hatay Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 15 people over their alleged use of ByLock. Police have detained 10 of them over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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.

It was also reported on Friday that the number of detainees as part of a probe in an Ankara-based investigation targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement has increased to 68. Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office had issued detention warrants for 87 people over their links to the movement.

Moreover, İstanbul 22nd High Criminal Court has sentenced 114 people, who used to be staff of court houses in İstanbul, to prison terms between 1 year and 6 months to 12 years on Friday. The hearing, where the court gave its verdict, was attended by 57 imprisoned defendants and 50 unjailed defendants at Bakırköy Courthouse’s conference hall.

The court has given 6 years and 3 months of prison sentences to Abdullah Yaşa, Ahmet Katrancı, Aslı Kocatürk, Azat Beler, Birgül Koçal, Elif Tarakçı, Ercan Tiryaki, Ferdi Dedemen, Ferhat Yeşilkaya, Gökmen Can, Hami Eyüpoğlu, Hamza Kaya, Hasan Albey, Hüseyin Erdem, Hüseyin Günaydın, İbrahim Özsoy, İlker Vatansever, Kayhan Bozkurt, Mehmet Can, Melike Keskinkılıç, Meltem Aydın, Muhammed Samet Şahin, Murat Ocak, Mustafa Özdener, Müjde Bıçak, Nabi Karahan, Nazmiye Soyoğlu, Nurcan Temel, Osman Acun, Osman Kaplan, Ömer Koca, Rabia Savaş, Ramazan Yılmaz, Rıdvan Akçay, Rıdvan Uçar, Samiye Yılmaz, Seydihan Kara, Soner Dican, Soner Kaya, Tuğba Kuşkonmaz, Ulvi Yaman and Zeynel Kıvrak over their alleged membership to an “armed terror organisation.”

The court has also given 7 years and 6 months of prison sentences to Abdullah Körismail, Ahmet Yaşar, Barış Arslan, Cevat Korkut, Dilara Balcı, Doğan Demiral, Ebubekir Ayçiçek, Erdal Yılmaz, Fatih Tarakçı, Ferudun Göğüs, Hüseyin Akbulut, Hüseyin Azgün, Hüseyin Sarp, İdris Akdemir, Mahsum Akyüz, Mehmet Ali Zey, Memet Gündoğdu, Muharrem Sunar, Murat Şahin, Orhan Sayın, Ömer Akgün, Sinan Kabadayı, Turgut Zorlu and Yunus Emre Günaydın over the same charge.

The court has sentenced Mehmet Ali Andıç, Metin Kayaokay, Müyesser Mutlu, Serbülent Algı and Ümit Yiğit to 7 years and 6 months of prison term over their alleged membership to an “terror organisation.”

The same court has given 9 years of prison sentences to Aliyye Kulabaş, Alparslan Durak, Alper Aktemur, Fahrettin Kaya, Kenan Durmuş, Mehmet Çerçi, Muhammed Zeyd Kibar and Serdar Çuhadar as it has given 10 years and 6 months of prison sentences to Lokman Özünal, Zeynep Karakaş. Özden Çeper and Mustafa Kahramana were also given 12 years of prison sentence  by the court over the same charge.

Abdülkadir Şengül, Ali Vural, Alper Yıldız, Büşra Merve Arslan, Firdevs Bıyık, Halil İbrahim Kökal, Harun Demir, Muammer Fındıkçı, Murat Uçar, Musa Aydın, Necmiye Özeski, Neslihan Günal, Selçuk Göktekin, Sibel Arıç, Tolgahan Süngü, Yeliz Sapan and Yunus Emre Karsandık have reportedly benefited active remorse law and because of “confessions” they have made their sentences reduced from 7 years 6 months to 1 year, 6 months and 15 days.

Adem Ekinci, Ahmet Tekman, Burak Öztürk, Fatih Kızılgüneş, Mehmet Doğan, Ramazan Akbulut, Sevilay Akkurt, Sevim Aydın, Veysel Çeken and Yusuf Car were also benefited active remorse law and so their sentences were also reduced from5 years to 3 years, 1 month and 15 days.

Kadir Özbek and Çağla Çakmak were given 4 yeras and 2 months, Harun Yerlikaya was given 2 years and 1 month, Mustafa Sakallı was given 3 years and 9 months of prison sentences over their alleged links to the Gülen movement under the blanket accusation that they are member of a terror organisation. The court has released 22 people.

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, 2016. 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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