Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 98 people over alleged Gülen links

Arrested officer

The Turkish government issued detention warrants for 98 people, including military officers on active duty, on Tuesday across the country as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

According to a statement by the Ankara’s Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, 40 people are accused of leaking police recruitment exam questions in 2011 to officers who have alleged links to the Gülen movement. So far, 27 people have been detained in Ankara-based operations in 21 provinces across Turkey.

Separately, a Kayseri prosecutor issued detention warrants for 33 people, including 27 active duty military officers who were allegedly found to have been in touch with suspected members of the movement by payphone. They were reportedly sought by police in the Kayseri-based operation in nine Turkish provinces.

The Bursa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office also issued detention warrants on Tuesday for 25 police officers who were previously dismissed over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Twenty of them were detained the same day.

Also on Tuesday, border guards arrested five people who were trying to illegally cross to Greece from the northwestern province of Edirne in order to escape the persecution of alleged members of the Gülen movement carried out the Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

It was reported that the detainees are dismissed lieutenant Mehmet Emin G., X-ray technician İbrahim E., dismissed public bank employee Ahmet Kemal G., dismissed nurse Gülay E. and Sait O. The children of the detainees were reportedly placed in the care of their relatives.

Police also detained five people in the Döryol area of Edirne’s Keşan district as they were reportedly trying to flee persecution in Turkey to Greece. It was reported that four of the detainees, identified as M.B., G.B., A.Ö. and M.Ö., are allegedly linked to the Gülen movement, and one of them — B.A. — was helping the other detainees.

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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