Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 25 gendarmerie officers over alleged Gülen links

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday issued detention warrants for 25 gendarmerie officers as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

According to the report, 23 of 25 gendarmerie lieutenants have been detained in police operations in 16 provinces.

In a similar development, 25 police officers who were dismissed following a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, were detained in operations in Bursa as part of an investigation launched by the Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into the Gülen movement.

Also on Tuesday, 12  people were detained by police in four Turkish provinces in an Antalya-based investigation into alleged members of the Gülen movement. The detentions came after the issuance of detention warrants by the Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for 15 people over their alleged links to the movement.

It was reported that the people who were detained in Antalya, Aydın, Ordu and Manisa provinces are for the most part teachers who were dismissed from their jobs by government decrees issued under a state of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup bid. It was also claimed that five of them are alleged 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.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government pursued a crackdown on the movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which the inner circle of the government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated.

Erdoğan also accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a coup attempt in July 2016.

Despite the movement strongly denying involvement in the failed coup, Erdoğan launched a witch-hunt targeting the group following the abortive putsch.

The Turkish government has dismissed over 40,000 military personnel including gendarmerie and military cadets over alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup attempt, the tr724 new website reported on Aug. 4.

According to the TurkeyPurge.com website, with the latest decree, the total number of people dismissed after the 2016 coup attempt now exceeds 170,000.

The European Commission said in a report on April 17 that since the introduction of a state of emergency on July 20, 2016, over 150,000 people were taken into custody and 78,000 were arrested.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 12, 2017, said 234,419 passports had been revoked as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since a failed coup.

On Nov. 16, 2017, Soylu had said eight holdings and 1,020 companies were seized as part of operations against the movement.

A total of 18,128 people have been detained over alleged links to the movement in last 8 months in 2018. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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