Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for at least 271 people over alleged links to Gülen movement

Turkish government has issued detention warrants for 271 people in Konya, Ankara and İzmir-based investigations on Wednesday as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Konya Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 134 people on Wednesday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Following the warrants were issued police have detained 22 people during the operations in 40 provinces across Turkey. It was reported by the state-run Anadolu news agency that the targeted people are part of alleged formation of the Gülen movement in the Turkish military.

Meanwhile, Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants on Wednesday for 82 people who used to work for Turkey’s Finance Ministry. Police have detained 17 people following the warrants issued for them over their alleged links to the Gülen movement and alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock. It was reported that the wanted 82 people were dismissed from their duties by government decrees under the rule of law declared in the aftermath of a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkish authorities believe that ByLock is a communication tool among the 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 the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Also, in an İzmir-based investigation targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement, İzmir Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 53 people on Wednesday. Police have detained 44 out of 53 wanted people during raids to 60 houses in 10 provinces across Turkey.

On Wednesday 2 people were also detained in Samsun province over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Meanwhile, Hürriyet daily has reported on Wednesday that police have detained at least 331 military officers in a Tekirdağ-based probe targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement in recent days. According to the report, Tekirdağ Chief Prosecutor’s Office has recently issued detention warrants for 331 military officers. Following the detention warrants all of the wanted military officers were detained by Turkish police in raids in different provinces including İzmir, Ankara, İstanbul, Edirne and Tekirdağ throught the past week.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempton July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the 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 has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15, 2016. 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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