WITCH HUNT GOES ON: Former military officers, academics and more detained

A massive witch hunt, which was openly declared by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2014 against all those who have alleged affiliation with the faith-based social movement inspired by the teachings of Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, continues with full throttle.

Twenty former Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) officers were detained on Saturday across 10 provinces over use of a smart phone application known as ByLock. The officers were detained as part of an investigation conducted by the Muğla Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock which is claimed to be the top communication tool among alleged followers of the faith-based Gülen movement which focuses on science education, volunteerism, interfaith and intercultural dialogue and charity aid. The movement runs a worldwide network of high-performing and very competitive schools in over 150 countries.


Meanwhile, seven academics who were earlier dismissed from Sakarya University as part of an investigation into the Gülen movement were arrested over their use of ByLock mobile application.

The suspects are accused of using the ByLock smart phone application, which according to prosecutors, is the top communication tool among members of the Gülen movement, accused by the government of masterminding a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15.

The arrestees are as follows: Ayşegül Ocak, Ferhat Dikbıyık, Hasan Nedim Çetin, Mustafa Aras, Şükrü Şirin, Tufan Koç and Yunus Ekiz. Three other academics who were also detained as part of the same investigation has been released with travel ban.


Eleven people were detained in Turkey’s Aegean resort district of Çeşme while they were on their way to escape to the Greek island of Chios. Detainees include Ş.U. and O.D., academics who were dismissed from Kars Kağızman University and Tokat Gaziosmanpaşa University respectively. The rest of the detainees are the family members of the two.

Thousands of people have fled Turkey due to a massive witch-hunt launched by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government against sympathizers of the Gülen movement in the wake of a failed coup attempt on July 15. The government accuses the movement of masterminding the coup despite lack of any evidence to this effect.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, AKP government along with President Erdogan called the coup “a great gift of God” and pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, Over 91,600 people were detained,  45,012 people were jailed with pre-trial arrest due to their alleged links to the movement. (The SCF with turkishminute.com, turkeypurge.com) Feb. 19, 2017


Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!