Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for at least 105 people over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish government issued detention warrants for at least 105 people on Friday as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 68 people over alleged links to the Gülen movement on Friday, and 30 people were detained by police during simultaneous operations in 28 provinces across Turkey. The suspects, including lawyers, are accused of staying in houses affiliated with the Gülen movement to study for judicial exams.

Meanwhile, the Muğla Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants on Friday for 36 military personnel including one who had previously been dismissed as part of a purge following a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the online news outlet TR724 reported.

Also on Friday, Ragibe and Ahmet Öner were detained in Samsun province for alleged links to the Gülen movement. They were accused of working for institutions affiliated with the movement and allegedly used the ByLock mobile phone messaging application.

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and even housewives, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Asım Uslu

Sena Uslu, 29-year old Turkish woman and the mother of 3-year-old Asım Uslu has been sentenced to 7,5 years in prison for working at a now-closed student dormitory affiliated with the Gülen movement.

According to an e mail sent to turkeypurge.com editors by Sena Uslu’s family members, she was given 7,5 years in jail at the first hearing on March 14, 2018 over alleged membership in the Gülen movement. Sena and her son, Asım, has been held in pre-trial detention in an Ankara prison on coup charges since June 2017.

Meanwhile, 5 people were given aggravated life sentences after they were convicted of their roles in July 2016 defeated coup on Friday. Among the five convicts are a squadron leader, a captain and lieutenants; they were convicted on the charge of violating the country’s constitutional order.

The suspects were arrested for their activities at Tuzla Infantry School during the coup attempt. Six others were sentenced between six years and three months in jail to eight years and one month in prison for being alleged members of the Gülen movement.

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 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 has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and other civil servants since July 2016. Turkey’s interior minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665 people have been arrested.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency has reported on March 15, 2018 that at least 402,000 people have been the subject of legal proceedings initiated by the Turkish government over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Dec. 2, 2017. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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