Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 108 more military members over Gülen links

The Konya Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 70 soldiers of various ranks as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting people claimed to have links to the Gülen movement on Tuesday. Thirty soldiers were detained following the detentions warrants in Konya, Ankara, Eskisehir, İstanbul, İzmir, Kayseri and Yalova provinces.

In a Siirt-based investigation 24 military officers and non-commissioned officers together with 2 teachers were detained in Turkey’s 16 provinces over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that the detentions were made following the detentions warrants issued for 30 people.

Meanwhile, Tokat Chief Prosecutor’s Office has also issued detention warrants for 19 people including 14 military officers who are on their active duties on Tuesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Police have launched operations in 14 provinces to detain the wanted military officers.

Also on Tuesday, 36 former police academy students were detained by police in 25 provinces in an Ankara-based investigation targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement over the charge of stealing the questions of the academy on 2012. It was reported that the detained former police academy students were among 1,342 students who were dismissed by the government of autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on 2015

Detention warrants were issued on Tuesday for 47 people by the Diyarbakır Chief Prosecutor’s Office on accusations that they use a smart phone application known as ByLock. Police detained 24 of the 47 people in 10 districts of Diyarbakır as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement.

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.

Twelve people were detained by gendarmerie in Turkey’s border province of Edirne while they were on their way to escape to the Greece on Tuesday. Detainees include four children, a teacher removed from his/her job and dismissed public servants who worked as rapporteurs at the Turkish Prime Ministry until they were sacked in the government’s post-coup crackdown. It was reported that one of the suspects had had an outstanding arrest warrant over his alleged links to the Gülen movement in İzmir province. Gendarmerie rounded up the suspects near the Evros river and seized the boat they were going to cross the river aboard.

Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive post-coup witch hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement. Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government cancelled their passports like thousands of others.

Moreover, an Erzurum court has given lawyer Mehmet Güzel, the former head of Erzurum Bar Association, 13 years, 1 month and 15 days of prison sentence over his alleged links to the Gülen movement. Beside of lawyer Güzel, Erzurum 2nd High Criminal Court has also given Bayram Candan and Hasan Aslan 15 years of prison sentences for each on charge of “establishing and administering armed terror organization” over their alleged links to the pacifist Gülen movement.

Hasan Kürklü, the former governor of Bursa province, was also arrested on Tuesday and jailed in Antalya province on charges of alleged links to the Gülen movement. According to the T24 website, a court in Antalya ruled for the arrest of Kürklü and put him in pretrial detention as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement overseen by the Antalya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Kürklü was Burdur governor from 2014 to 2016 and was suspended on September 15, 2016.

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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