Turkish police detain 7 more people over financial aid to purge victims: journalist

Turkish police have detained an additional seven people for providing financial support to people fired from their jobs on the pretext of an anti-coup purge following a failed putsch in 2016, Abdulhamit Bilici, a Turkish journalist in exile, claimed on his social media account.

The detentions took place in the Central Anatolian province of Çorum, according to Bilici.

The detainees are apparent followers of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, who inspired a faith-based movement Turkey accuses of masterminding the 2016 coup attempt despite their strong denial of any involvement.

Bilici shared an image of items confiscated by the police as pieces of evidence that include books, magazines, cash, computers, smartphones and videotapes of Gülen.

A total of 219 people were jailed in a massive operation last week over accusations of either receiving financial assistance or distributing financial assistance sent by Gülen followers abroad to the families of people jailed over links to the Gülen movement or removed from the civil service for the same reason.

The Turkish government has been cracking down for more than six years on the real and assumed members of the Gülen movement, which it designated as a terrorist organization. The government’s crackdown on the movement intensified following the coup attempt in 2016. The Gülen movement strongly denies any involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

The mass detention of so many people for distributing or receiving donations has attracted widespread criticism from politicians and human rights activists from within and without Turkey.

Following the coup attempt, 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. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 29,444 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.

Victims of Turkey’s post-coup crackdown say they and their families experience severe financial and psychological problems due to what they call hate speech employed by the government and its supporters against them, which prevents them from leading normal lives, finding jobs and supporting their families.

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