Turkish authorities have ordered the detention of 78 people in the last five days due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to reports by Turkish media.
The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday issued detention warrants for 20 people including 17 lawyers over alleged links to the movement. Police conducted operations across seven provinces as part of the operation and detained 18 of the suspects.
On Wednesday the chief public prosecutor’s office in Ankara ordered the detention of 29 people including active duty and dismissed gendarmerie officers over alleged Gülen links. Police conducted operations in 20 provinces to detain the suspects.
An additional 11 detention warrants were issued in Manisa and Adana provinces on Thursday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim 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 an abortive putsch that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
The İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday issued detention warrants for 18 former civil servants including doctors, police officers and teachers on accusations that they used the ByLock messaging app, once widely available online and considered by the government to be a tool of secret communication among supporters of the movement. Police raids were conducted at 22 locations across four provinces to detain the suspects.
The UN Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) has repeatedly stated that arrest and conviction based on ByLock use in Turkey violated Articles 19, 21 and 22 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
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. More than 130,000 public servants 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.
A total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on November 22.
In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.