Turkish gov’t detains wives of 13 jailed police chiefs over alleged links to Gülen movement

Turkish government, on Monday, has detained the wives of 13 deputy police chiefs who were dismissed from their duties following the incrimination of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his cabinet ministers and family members in a corruption investigation on December 17/25, 2013, and imprisoned over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, CNN Turk reported.

It was reported that as part of a Sivas-based investigation in scope of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement, Sivas Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 13 women who are wives of former deputy police chiefs over their alleged participations to a religious gathering. Following the warrants police have detained 13 women in Sivas, Ankara, Kırıkkale and Ordu provinces. The women were transferred to Sivas Police Department.

This is not the first time that the children of former police chiefs who were jailed following they took part in corruption and bribery operations in late 2013. Birsen Atayün, the wife of jailed police chief Anadolu Atayün was detained just days after her 15-year-old son and 17-year-old daughter were detained by police.

Jailed police chief Ali Fuat Yılmazer’s two daughters, Fatma Saadet Yılmazer and Rabia Fitnat Yılmazer, were also detained on March 16, 2017 and later they were arrested by a court and sent to prison. Two sisters are still in prison.

The wives of former police chiefs including Ömer Köse, Nazmi Ardıç and Mustafa Demirhan, who led corruption operations against the government in 2013 and an operation into the Iran-backed Tevhid-Selam terror network in Turkey in 2010, were also detained in November. Former police chief Köse’s sister and son were also detained during the same wave of witch hunt.

The wives of former police chiefs Yakub Saygılı and Kazım Aksoy, who led corruption and bribery operations against the government in 2013, were also detained early November. The operations came amid a crisis between Turkey and the US over the arrest of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian gold trader who has been charged in Manhattan with conspiring to violate US sanctions on Iran.

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 President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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 Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, on December 13, 2017, The Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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