Turkish gov’t speeds up witch hunt campaign targeting alleged Gülen followers after eid pause

Turkish government has sped up its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the alleged followers of the Gülen movement following a brief pause during the eid al-fitr holiday. Police forces have detained 30 people including dismissed public servants and housewives in Adana province on Friday over their alleged use of ByLock mobilephone messaging application.

It was reported that following the arrest warrants which were issued by Adana Chief Prosecutor Office, police forces have raided 45 adresses in downtown Adana and 1 adress in Ankara province on Friday morning.

In İzmir province, 12 people who have been working for Ege University, including some academicians who are still on active duties or dismissed by government’s executive decree under the rule of emergency declared following the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, were detained by police forces over their alleged use of ByLock on Friday.

Meanwhile, 30 people, including dismissed policemen, military officers, court clerks and Hatay Metropolitan Municipality staff, have been detained for their alleged use of ByLock in Hatay province on Thursday. The suspects, who were fired from their jobs by the government’s executive decree, have been detained as part of an investigation launched by the Hatay Chief Prosecutor’s Office into the alleged followers of the Gülen movement.

Turkish authorities consider ByLock to be the top communication tool among alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Also on Thursday, 5 people were detained by police in Adıyaman province over their alleged links to the Gülen movement while Mersin Chief  Prosecutor Office has issued arrest warrants for 13 military officers on the same day. It was reported that the list of the wanted suspects includes 7 military officers, 4 non-commissioned officers, 2 sergeants.

Ahmet Türkmen, a Kayseri businessman who have been wanted by police for almost 1 year over his alleged links to Gülen movement, was detained by police in Ankara on Friday. It was reported that Türkmen was among 68 people who were investigated by Turkish government over their alleged links to the Gülen movement including prominent businessmen like Hacı Boydak, Memduh Boydak, Şükrü Boydak, Hamdi Kınaş ali Halit Gazezoğlu in Kayseri. Türkmen was also named in the list of people whose citizenship were decided by the government to be annulled.

Turkey survived a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 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 participants of the Gülen movement in jails.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Ministry on June 13.

June 30, 2017

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