Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 192 military personnel over alleged Gülen links

Arrested officer

Turkish government issued detention warrants for 192 military personnel on Wednesday as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

According to a report by Reuters, Turkish authorities have ordered the detention of 192 military personnel in operations. One former brigadier general and 30 pilots were among 99 members of the air force facing possible charges in an investigation launched by Ankara prosecutors and spread across 20 other provinces, the prosecutor’s office said.

Following the detention warrants issued by Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s for 99 people, including an air commodore, two commanders and 30 former pilots from the Turkish Air Force Command, police detained at least 25 people.

It said the detainees were suspected of being in contact with the alleged members of the Gülen movement, and of communicating with it via periodic pay phone calls, a method alleged to be used by supporters of the movement.

In a separate series of operations, Turkish authorities ordered the detention of 93 personnel from the army, navy and coast guard, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported. Authorities have regularly conducted such sweeps against alleged supporters of Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt in July 15, 2016.

Separately, security units began operations to arrest 22 on-duty military officers across 13 provinces as part of an investigation launched in the northwestern Balıkesir province. In the operations, eight people have been detained by police.

As part of another operation to detain 71 military personnel across 16 provinces as part of a probe instigated in the Kocaeli province, a lieutenant and two technical sergeants, were detained in the southwestern province of Muğla.

Also, in the Black Sea province of Samsun, nine people were detained over allegedly using the ByLock mobile phone messaging application.

Later on Wednesday, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office in northeastern Bayburt province issued a detention warrant on Wednesday for 12 people, including on-duty soldiers as well as dismissed and retired military officers over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.  In the Bayburt-based operations that were held across 12 provinces, 10 out of the 12 people, were detained.

On Tuesday Turkish authorities ordered the detention of 132 people in nationwide operations.

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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