Turkish gov’t issues detention warrants for 96 people over alleged links to Gülen movement

File photo.

The Turkish government on Tuesday issued detention warrants for 96 people across Turkey as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

The Konya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 50 people over alleged links to the Gülen movement on Tuesday. Police raided locations in 13 Turkish provinces and detained 22 people over their alleged role in the so-called structure of the Gülen movement in the Turkish

Four people were detained in Kayseri on Tuesday after the Kayseri Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for eight people over their alleged role in the same supposed structure.

The Manisa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office also issued detention warrants on Tuesday for 18 military personnel, including 15 active duty officers, over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. Police detained 13 of them in raids conducted in 10 provinces.

Also on Tuesday, seven people were detained in Ankara following the issuance of detention warrants by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for 20 people over their alleged use of the ByLock mobile phone messaging app.

Turkish authorities believe 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 allegedly using ByLock since a 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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