Turkish gov’t detains tens of teachers, hundreds more over alleged links to Gülen movement on Tuesday

Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged followers of the Gülen movement has continued on Tuesday with hundreds of new detentions and new arrests in several provinces of Turkey.

Police forces have detained 144 people on Tuesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement in an İzmir-based investigation as part of witch hunt targeting alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Following an investigation launched by İzmir’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office over alleged new structure of the Gülen movement, police forces have detained 114 people in İzmir, Aydın, Muğla and İstanbul provinces. It was claimed the the detainees have organized to financialy help those who have been jailed and their families.

31 people, who were teachers working for private schools and university preparation schools which were closed by Turkish government by the executive decrees under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, were detained in 13 provinces in a Ankara-based witch hunt operation targeting the alleged followers of the Gülen movement. It was reported that the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in Ankara province has issued detention warrants for 81 people, mostly teachers, for alleged use of ByLock, a mobile phone app. The countrywide detentions were made after police carried out operations in 13 provinces.

Meanwhile, following the detention warrants issued by Adana Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 65 people on Tuesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement by showing their alleged use of ByLock app as evidence, police teams have detained 45 people, including those public servants previously dismissed by government decrees under the rule of emergency in wake of coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Also in Hatay province 33 people, including previously dismissed public servants, were detained by police following the detention warrants issued by Hatay Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 42 people on Tuesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement and alleged use of ByLock app.

Police teams have also detained 18 people in Mersin and Şırnak provinces over their alleged use of ByLock app in a Mersin-based investigation launched as part of Turkish government’s massive witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement.

In an Elazığ-based investigation, 13 people were detained by police teams in Elazığ, Şanlıurfa and Malatya provinces over their alleged use of ByLock mobile phone messaging app on Tuesday.

Moreover, 7 people were detained by police in Malatya province on Tuesday over their alleged use of ByLock messaging app. Meanwhile, 6 out of 17 people who were previously detained by police over their alleged links to the Gülen movement were arrested by a Malatya court on Tuesday. The same court has released 11 people with judicial probe.

Also on Tuesday, 50 out of 68 informatics personnel, who used to work for TÜBİTAK, TİB, THY, Türk Telekom and HAVELSAN, were detained by an İstanbul court over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Following detention warrants issued for 105 informatics personnel, police teams detained 68 of them in operation in 8 Turkish provinces on July 11, 2017. The court arrested 50 of them and sent to prison.

On Monday, 11 people were also detained by police teams in Yozgat provinces over their alleged use of ByLock app following the detention warrants issued by Yozgat Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 15 people.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock indicates membership in the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the controversial coup attempt last year.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 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.

July 25, 2017

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