Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 61 military officers over alleged Gülen links

Arrested officer

The Turkish government issued detention warrants on Wednesday for 71 people including 61 military officers as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, according to the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 61 officers, 36 of whom are still on active duty. A total of 39 people including 33 military members have so far been detained in simultaneous operations conducted by security units in 23 provinces across Turkey.

The detention warrants target 23 officers from the Land Forces Command, 24 from the Naval Forces, 11 from the Air Forces Command and three from the gendarmerie.

In a similar development on Friday and Monday, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 171 active duty and purged military officers over alleged links to the movement.

The Turkish government has dismissed more than 40,000 military personnel including gendarmerie and military cadets over alleged links to the movement since a failed coup attempt in July 2016, the tr724 new website reported on Aug. 4.

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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