Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 19 Gazi University personnel over alleged Gülen links

A Turkish prosecutor’s office issued detention warrants on Monday for 19 former personnel of Gazi University who were dismissed by a government decree under a two-year-long state of emergency as part of a massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Ten people were detained following the issuance of the warrants by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. One of those being sought is abroad, while efforts are ongoing to detain the remaining eight in four Turkish provinces.

The Turkish government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has arbitrarily fired 5,719 academics including professors from state universities within the last two years alone. A total of 2,465 academics, among them the nation’s top professors in various fields, lost their jobs when the government shut down 15 privately run universities. Hundreds of academics were jailed on dubious charges, and many others are just waiting their turn to be processed in Turkey’s abusive criminal justice system.

Also on Monday, following the issuance of detention warrants by the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for 25 police officers who were dismissed by the Turkish government under the state of emergency, police detained 21 of them over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was claimed that some of the detainees were users of the ByLock mobile phone messaging application.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is a communication tool among alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and even housewives, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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 the coup attempt in July 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 organisation,” 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 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.

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