Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 88 people over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish government on Tuesday issued detention warrants for 88 people, including military officers, police officers and teachers, 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, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants on claims of terrorism for 29 police officers accused of leaking police recruitment exam questions in 2011 to alleged members of the movement.

The Ankara-based operation is reportedly underway in seven provinces.

Separately, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday separately issued detention warrants for 21 military officers, 19 former military personnel and a civilian working at the Turkish Land Forces Command over Gülen links. The suspects include four majors, 26 captains and nine lieutenants. Police have reportedly launched operations in 21 provinces across Turkey to detain the officers.

Meanhwile in Edirne province, the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued a detention warrant for retired brigadier general İ.T. on Tuesday over his alleged links to the movement. İ.T. was reportedly detained by police in Sakarya province.

Also in Edirne, 18 detention warrants were issued for Turkish Education Ministry employees over Gülen links. The police detained 11 of those sought, three of whom were still working for the ministry, while the remainder had been dismissed by government decrees under a now-ended state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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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