Turkish gov’t’s persecution targeting alleged followers of Gülen movement goes on

Turkish government has continued its massive post-coup witch hunt campaign across Turkey targeting the alleged members of the Gülen movement on Tuesday.

Nine teachers were detained by police in Kahramanmaraş province for their alleged use of ByLock mobilephone messaging application on Tuesday following Kahramanmaraş Chief Prosecutor Office has issued detention warrants for 13 teachers on Tueasday.

Also in Edremit district of Balıkesir province, 14 teachers and eductors were detained by police for their alleged use of ByLock application  following Ederemit Chief Prosecutor Office has issued detention warrants for 21 people who used to work for the private schools, exam preparation courses and student dormitories allegedly affiliated with the Gülen movement on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, 11 out of 23 people were arrested on Tuesday by a court in İzmir province over their alleged links to Gülen movement. The other detainees have been released with condition of judicial probe and international travel ban. 23 people were detained by İzmir police on June 15, 2017 in an investigation carried out by İzmir Chief Prosecutor Office as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

Also in İzmir province, 5 out of 9 health sector workers, including a doctor, who were dismissed from their duties by a government decree under the rule of emergency declared following a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, were also arrested. Four other detained health sector workers were released with condition of judicial probe and international travel ban. 9 people were detained by police on June 13.

In Erzincan province 11 out of 18 people were also arrested by a court over their alleged use of ByLock mobilephone messaging application on Tuesday. Seven other detainees were released by the court with condition of judicial probe and international travel ban.

In Aydın province, 8 out of 10 people, who were detained in 6 different provinces in an Aydın-based invesitgation as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign, were arrested on Tuesday over their alleged use of ByLock. Police had detained 10 people in Aydın, İstanbul, Ankara, İzmir, Kırıkkale and Balıkesir provinces following Aydın Chief Prosecutor Office has issused detention warrants for 22 people on June 7, 2017 over their alleged use of ByLock. Aydın court has released two detainees with condition of judicial probe and international travel ban.

Turkish authorities consider ByLock to be the top communication tool among the alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for allegedly using ByLock since a failed and controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Critics say the use of a technological application is not a criminal activity nor is it evidence of membership in a terrorist organization.

A letter sent by Turkey’s Security Directorate General to all police units in the country last October told police officers to obtain confessions from individuals who had been detained due to their use of ByLock because mere use of the application is not considered a crime.

Also on Tuesday, 2nd High Criminal Court has sentenced lawyer Hakan A. to 3 years, 1 month and 15 days of prison over his alleged links to the Gülen movement. However, the court has released the lawyer by taking his term of stay in prison until today.

Furthermore on Tuesday, Turkey’s Constitutional Court has rejected an individual application filed by Aydın Yavuz who stands trial for taking part in a raid on the Turkish Satellite Communications Company (Türksat) in Ankara’s Gölbaşı district on the night of a failed coup attempt on July 15,2016. Yavuz is one of the five civilian suspects in the trial in which there are also 11 military suspects who all face aggravated life sentences on various coup charges. Their trial began at the Ankara 14th High Criminal Court in April.

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday rejected an application filed by Yavuz who claimed that his personal security and right to freedom have been violated during the trial. This is the first application from a coup suspect examined and rejected by the top court.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President 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 Minsitry on June 13.

June 20, 2017

 

 

Take a second to support SCF on Patreon!