Turkish soccer player İrtegün detained over alleged links to Gülen movement

Bekir İrtegün

Turkish football player Bekir İrtegün was detained by police on Friday as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup wtich hunt campaign targeting the alleged followers of the Gülen movement.

It was reported that İrtegün, who has been kept under police custody in İstanbul Police Department, tried to go abroad two weeks ago, but he was barred from travel and his passport was confiscated by police. Başakşehir Sport Club has also canceled his contract.

Meanwhile, 19 people were detained by police in Amasya province following the detention warrants issued by the Amasya Chief Prosecutor’s Office for 21 people over their alleged use of mobile phone messaging application ByLock on Friday.

Sixteen people were also detained by police in a Siirt-based investigation as part of Turkish government’s witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement. It was reported that the Siirt Chief Prosecutor’s office has issued detention warrants for 18 people on Friday and the police teams have detained 16 people in Siirt and 11 different provinces of Turkey.

Also in Sinop province, 12 people were detained by police after the Sinop Chief Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for them over theri alleged use of ByLock and alleged links to the Gülen movement on Thursday.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock indicates membership in the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the controversial coup attempt last year.

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 Turkey’s autocratic 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. Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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