Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 133 former public servants over alleged Gülen links

Turkish government has issued detention warrants for 133 public servants, including 4 people on active duties, on Thursday over their alleged links to Gülen movement basing on their alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock.

The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 101 personnel from the Finance Ministry and 32 personnel from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security on Thursday as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement. Of the total 133 ministry personnel who have detention warrants, only four were reported to be on active duty. The prosecutor’s office stated that the Ankara-based probe was being conducted throughout 11 provinces.

In an Uşak-based investigation 14 women were detained in Uşak, Afyonkarahisar, Denizli, Manisa, Muğla and İzmir provinces over their alleged links to Gülen movement on Thursday by basing on their alleged use of ByLock. It was reported that the detentions have followed the warrants issued by Uşak Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 16 women.

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.

Meanwhile, following the detention warrants issued by Aksaray Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 21 teachers who were 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, at least 18 teachers were detained by police on Thursday in Aksaray and Ankara provinces over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Also, 19 military personnel were detained on Thursday accross Turkey as part of a Trabzon-based operation targeting alleged members of the faith-based Gülen movement. It was reported that 19 military officers were detained in operations in 9 provinces and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC). Two cadets who were among detainees, were dismissed as part of witch hunt targeting Gülen movement following a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Detention warrants were issued on September 29 for 117 former and active duty officers of various ranks across 45 Turkish provinces as part of an İzmir-based operation targeting alleged members of the movement.

Moreover, in Kozan district of Adana province 9 people, mostly women, were detained by police on Thursday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement following the detention warrants issued by Kozan Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 12 people.

In a Bitlis-based investigation 7 people were detained by police on Thursday in Bitlis, Elazığ, Erzurum, İstanbul, Kahramanmaraş, Malatya, Şanlıurfa provinces over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that detentions were carried out following the detention warrants issued for 13 people.

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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