Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 33 more lawyers over alleged links to Gülen movement

The İzmir Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 44 people including 33 lawyers on Friday as part of an investigation into İzmir bar associations due to alleged links to the Gülen movement. Turkish anti-terror police detained 26 people, some of whom were accused of using a smart phone application called ByLock.

At least 1,343 lawyers lawyers have been under criminal prosecution of Turkish government as at least 538 lawyers have been arrested since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Meanwhile, İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 36 people on Friday over their alleged use of ByLock. Police teams have started operations to detain the people in İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Balıkesir, Kayseri and Osmaniye provinces.

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among followers of the faith-based 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.

Also on Friday, Turkish police have detained 27 people in operations in 16 provinces as part of a Kocaeli-based investigation into the Gülen movement. It was reported that 27 people were detained in Kocaeli, Ankara, İstanbul, Denizli, Bursa, Çanakkale, Muğla, İzmir, Antalya, Kayseri, Bolu, Kahramanmaraş, Afyonkarahisar, Mardin, Eskişehir and Düzce provinces after a Kocaeli court issued detention warrants for 30 suspects. Twenty-eight out of the 30 suspects are active-duty soldiers, 11 of whom are lieutenants and 17 noncommissioned officers.

Twenty-five out of 33 people, who were detained on September 11 in 14 provinces of Turkey in an Elazığ-based investigation as part of post-coup witch hunt targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement were arrested by an Elazığ court on Friday. The court has released 8 people with judicial probation.

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 Turkey’s autocratic 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’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.

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