Turkish police has detained 16 people in an Ankara-based investigation in 30 provinces as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement on Tuesday after Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants over 85 people including 10 lawyers.
Online news portal Aktif Haber has reported that 75 people were identified former police academy students along with 10 lawyers, five of whom were allegedly using ByLock which is a controversial mobile phone application that Turkish authorities claim to be the top communication tool among the alleged members of the Gülen movement.
While 16 of those people were taken to Ankara Security Directorate after being detained following detention warrants, the police officers have still been carrying out the operation.
According to data compiled by independent monitoring site The Arrested Lawyers’ Initiative, 565 lawyers have been arrested as of November 28, 2017 since July 15, 2016 and 1,448 lawyers were under prosecution as of Oct. 27, 2017. Sixty-nine lawyers have received lengthy prison sentences thus far. Some of the arrested lawyers were reportedly subjected torture and ill treatment. Fourteen of the detained or arrested lawyers are presidents or former presidents of provincial bar associations.
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.