Turkish gov’t issued detention warrants for 49 teachers over alleged links to Gülen movement

Turkish government has issued detention warrants on Wednesday for 49 teachers, who were previously dismissed from their duties by government decrees under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, over their alleged links to the Gülen movement and allegedly using mobile phone messaging application ByLock.

It was reported that following the detention warrants issued by İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office, police have detained 20 teachers in operations in 23 provinces.

On Wednesday, 52 out of 87 people, mostly teachers, who were detained on September 20 over alleged links to Gülen movement, were also arrested by an İzmir court. It was claimed that they used to use ByLock.

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among followers of the 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.

In a Tokat-based investigation 30 people, including businessmen, were detained by police in 10 provinces on Wednesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

It was also reported that 11 non-commissioned military officers on active duties were detained in 4 provinces on Wednesday in an Ankara-based probe targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, Turkish government has seized and appointed trustees on Wednesday to 10 companies allegedly owned by members of the Gülen movement in Aydın province. It was claimed that 9 businessmen, who have these 10 companies, used to give financial support to the Gülen movement.

Aydın 3rd High Criminal Court has decided to appoint trustees to the companies owned by Semih Menzilci, Mustafa Ancın, Sami Solak, Mehmet Yapar, Mehmet Tuğcu, İbrahim Hilmi Maraş, Abdülkerim Tikbaş, Çetin Dokuzlu and Selami Dinç who have already tried by the same court.

Turkish government has seized about 1000 companies over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Then-Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said on July 17, 2017 that the government seized 966 companies from people allegedly linked to the Gülen movement. 

“In addition, 4,888 properties of those 966 companies were also seized and transferred to the Finance Ministry,” said Kurtulmuş, speaking to reporters following a Cabinet meeting in Ankara.

Assets of seized companies were announced to be more than $12 billion by then Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli in May.

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 President 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. Turkish government has also suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants after the coup attempt.

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