Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 79 teachers, detains dozens over alleged Gülen links

Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 79 teachers who used to work for the schools and preparatory courses which were closed by Turkish government under the rule of emergency declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Following the detention warrants, police teams detained 30 teachers over their alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement on Wednesday.

Police teams have also detained 8 people following detention warrants issued by Aksaray Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 11 people over their alleged use of ByLock. Moreover, following detention warrants issued by Kayseri Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 24 people over their alleged use of ByLock, police detained 16 people in Kayseri, İstanbul, Ankara, Kırıkkale and Yozgat provinces on Wednesday.

Moreover, a total of 15 civilians were arrested by a Samsun court on Tuesday due to alleged use of a smart phone application called ByLock and links to the Gülen movement. Police had detained 20 people last week in simultaneous raids across Samsun province. Of those, 15 were sent to jail late on Tuesday while the rest were released pending trial.

Mersin Chief Prosecutor’s Office has also issued detention warrants for 30 people over their alleged use of ByLock on Wednesday. Police have detained 17 of them including private sector workers, teachers and police officers in Mersin province.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a member of the Gülen movement and it is seen as the top communication tool among members of the movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the controversial coup attempt.

Meanwhile, in a Tokat-based investigation 9 female judges and lawyers were detained in İstanbul, Ankara, Antalya, Gaziantep, İzmir and Manisa provinces over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. It was reported that in the framework of the same investigation at least 80 judges, prosecutors and lawyers have been detained so far.

Twenty-five people were also detained by police teams in Afyonkarahisar province on Wednesday following the detention warrants issued by the local chief psosecutor’s office over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Also on Wednesday, 14 people were detained by Turkish gendarme on Çeşme district of İzmir province on Wednesday as they have been trying to flee from Turkey to a Greek island. It was reported that the detainees include the former deputy chairman of Turkey’s Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) Ozan Cangürel’s wife and his two children. There has been an outstanding detention warrant for Cangürel over his alleged links to the Gülen movement since a controversial coup attempt of last year.

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 President 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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