Turkish gov’t jailed 77,081 people since controversial coup attempt in 2016 over alleged links to Gülen movement

The Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to figures released by Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Wednesday.

Minister Soylu during a speech in Tekirdağ province said the Turkish government conducted 20,409 operations in 2017 and that 20,478 people were arrested by Turkish courts and put in pretrial detention as part of the government’s post-coup witch hunt across Turkey targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

According to Soylu, the Turkish government also conducted 6,242 operations targeting alleged members of the movement in the first three months of 2018 and jailed 2,706 people.

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. On December 13, the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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