Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 121 women on Int’l Women’s Day over alleged Gülen links

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants on International Women’s Day for 121 women over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Among those being sought is Fatmanur Gülen, the niece of US-based Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen, and Belkis Nur Tetik, the sister-in-law of Adil Öksüz, who is accused by the Turkish government of being a mastermind of a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The report said 33 women, including Fatmanur Gülen, have been detained thus far in simultaneous operations in 29 provinces across Turkey. The search for the other women is ongoing.

Turkish police detained a total of 4,725 people over alleged links to the movement in the first two months of 2018.

More than 17,000 women who have been jailed in an unprecedented crackdown have been subjected to torture and ill treatment in detention centers and prisons as part of the government’s systematic campaign of intimidation and persecution of critics and opponents, a report titled “Jailing Women In Turkey: Systematic Campaign of Persecution and Fear released in April 2017 by SCF revealed.

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 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 other civil servants since July 2016. Turkey’s interior minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665 people have been arrested. On December 13, the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Dec. 2, 2017. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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