Turkish gov’t investigates 203,518 people over links to Gülen movement thus far

Turkish prosecutors have investigated 203,518 people as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement in the past five years, Turkish Justice Ministry data released on Monday indicated.

According to the data, 83,722 Gülen movement followers are currently standing trial, and 16,195 are in pretrial detention. A total of 34,926 Gülen movement followers have been convicted, with 12,617 in prison, while the remainder is free on bail pending appeal. A total of 13,992 defendants have been acquitted by the courts.

Two hundred eighty-eight trials have been conducted countrywide on coup attempt charges, of which courts have reached verdicts in 180. Six hundred thirty-six suspects received aggravated life sentences, while 888 were handed life sentences and 653 were given jail sentences varying from one year, two months to 20 years. During the trials on coup attempt charges, 1,552 suspects were acquitted, and in 595 cases a decision of non-prosecution was made.

Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül on June 7 said the trials related to the Gülen movement would be finalized at the end of the year.

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 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. 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.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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