Turkish police detain 30 in İstanbul due to alleged Gülen links

Turkish police teams on Wednesday detained 30 people in simultaneous raids in İstanbul in an operation targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, Turkish Minute reported, citing the state-run Anadolu news agency.

As part of the investigation conducted by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants were issued for 31 people, 30 of whom had been detained as of Wednesday morning.

The police also seized cash and books that are deemed illegal by Turkish authorities during searches of the locations that were raided.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

According to a statement from Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu last November, a total of 292,000 people have been detained while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there were 25,655 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed over links to the movement.

Following the abortive putsch, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. Over 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors as well as 20,610 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

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