Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 89 military officers over alleged Gülen links

The Turkish government on Tuesday issued detention warrants for 89 military officers, most of them on active duty, as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

According to a report by Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, police have launched operations in 26 provinces to detain 47 officers, including 38 on active duty, following the issuance of detention warrants by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Also, in a Malatya-based probe, the chief public prosecutor’s office issued detention warrants on Tuesday for 42 military officers in the Turkish Air Forces in Ankara, İzmir, Sakarya, Muğla, Adana, Eskişehir, Konya, Kayseri, Balıkesir, Kilis, Amasya and Elazığ provinces. Thirty-four of them have reported been detained by police.

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.

The ruling AKP government dismissed 24,977 military members immediately after the coup bid including 150 generals, 4,630 officers, 2,167 noncommissioned officers, 1,210 specialized sergeants, 411 civil servants and workers, and 16,409 cadets following the failed coup over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli on April 18, 2018 said the government had identified 3,000 active duty military officers suspected of links to the Gülen movement and that they would be dismissed with a government decree in the coming days.

Official statements claim that 8,651 military members including cadets and privates took part in the failed coup.

Director General of Public Security Selami Altınok on Dec. 12, 2017 said 22,987 police officers had been dismissed over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

“If it was a coup perpetrated by the Gülen movement and 25,000 military personnel and 22,987 police officers were dismissed for their connections to the movement, why did only 8,651 military members including cadets and privates participate in the coup?” is a question being asked by critics.

The head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, last year said Turkey could not convince them that US-based Turkish-Islamic scholar Gülen was behind the failed coup in July.

Similarly, Devin Nunes, chairman of United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in an interview with Fox News in March 2017 that he had not seen any evidence showing Gülen’s involvement in the putsch in Turkey.

In addition, a report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) in January 2017 revealed that the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge.

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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