Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 22 people over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish government issued detention warrants on Monday for 22 people, including six active duty officers from the Turkish Naval Forces and the Coast Guard Command, as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Police reportedly detained 10 suspects following the issuance of detention warrants by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for 22 people including a lieutenant colonel, two majors, three captains and four noncommissioned officers.

A Turkish officer who had previously developed an algorithm for profiling individuals for ties to the Gülen movement has scrutinized some 800,000 people, including former and active duty military members, their spouses and children, to ferret out some 4,500 Gülen-linked officers in Turkey’s Naval Forces.

According to a report on the T24 news website on Tuesday, the algorithm, developed by deputy chief of the Naval Forces Adm. Cihat Yaycı, is referred to as the “FETÖ-meter,” derived from the derogatory term “FETÖ,” which is used widely in the Turkish media to describe the Gülen movement as a terrorist organization.

For the profiling of officers, Yaycı organized a team of officers he knew personally and some officers who were previously prosecuted in several cases that are now referred to by the Turkish media and government figures as conspiracies by Gülen-linked figures.

Seventy main criteria and 249 sub-criteria form the basis of the software used in the profiling process in order to analyze in detail the individual data of the officers under scrutiny, which was provided by several ministries and other institutions.

An earlier report on the algorithm published in January of this year by the pro-government Sabah newspaper had revealed that the data to be analyzed would pertain to the officers’ scores on several nationwide civil service-related tests, their spouses’ workplaces and the schools of the officers’ children, financial transactions at the Gülen-affiliated Bank Asya, use of the ByLock mobile messaging app and suspect and witness testimonies as well as whether or not these officers served on the interview or examination boards that confirmed the new recruits during periods when Gülen movement members were considered to be influential within the institutions.

In July Cafer Topkaya, a naval officer serving at NATO headquarters in Brussels during a coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016 who was later recalled to Turkey and held in detention for 16 months, spoke up on his Twitter account and denounced his imprisonment as a result of defamation by Yaycı.

Since the coup attempt, tens of thousands of army members have been dismissed from the service, many of them arrested. These former military officers were also the subject of many of the allegations of mistreatment and torture in prisons during the two-year-long state of emergency declared after the abortive putsch in 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 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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