Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 102 military officers over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish government on Monday issued detention warrants for 102 active duty and dismissed military officers as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

According to a statement from the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, 89 of the military members have been accused of communicating with alleged members of the Gülen movement. Police have thus far detained 56 of the officers in operations in İstanbul, the statement added.

Separately, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office also issued detention warrants for 13 colonels, three of whom are on active duty, on Monday over alleged links to the movement.

Meanwhile, a dismissed noncommissioned officer identified as C.B.A. was detained while he was reportedly on his way to illegally cross into Iraq along with his children. Turkish gendarmes apprehended C.B.A. as well as his daughter and son near the Turkey-Iraq border in Şırnak province on Monday. C.B.A. was wanted over his alleged ties to the Gülen movement.

Another dismissed noncommissioned officer, identified as O.C., was detained around the same location on Monday.

Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a coup bid on July 15, 2016. Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government canceled their passports like thousands of others.

Ankara court sentences 115 military officers to jail terms

Meanwhile, a Turkish court handed down jail terms to 115 military personnel, including former Turkish air force officers, on Monday over their alleged involvement in a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Ankara’s 16th High Criminal Court sentenced 35 officers dismissed from the Turkish Air Forces to eight years, nine months in prison over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, while the remaining officers were given up to seven years, six months.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Turkey have been the subject of legal proceedings in the last two years on charges of membership in the Gülen movement since a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, a Turkish Justice Ministry official told a symposium on July 19, 2018.

“Legal proceedings have been carried out against 445,000 members of this organization,” Turkey’s pro-government Islamist news agency İLKHA quoted Turkish Justice Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Ömer Faruk Aydıner as saying.

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 about 170,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15, 2016. 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.

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