Turkish police raid 118 houses, detain 72 people over alleged links to Gülen movement

Seventy-two people were detained in İzmir province on Sunday morning in a police operation targeting members of the faith-based Gülen movement, according to the T24 news website.

Members of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) along with counterterrorism police raided 118 houses as part of an investigation into people who are allegedly helping Gülen-linked suspects in jail. The prosecutor accuses them of paying the rent of their families and lending them moral support.

In late April, detention warrants were issued for 48 teachers who were former staff members of schools closed down by a state of emergency decree following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

According to an announcement from the Turkish Interior Ministry, in the first four months of the year, 10,472 people were detained due to alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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 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 civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Take a second to support SCF on Patreon!