Wives of jailed Turkish police chiefs who led 2013 corruption operations detained

Wives of jailed police chiefs Yakub Saygılı and Kazım Aksoy, who led corruption and bribery operations against the government of Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan back in 2013, were detained.

According to a report by pro-government Yeni Şafak daily on Thursday, Esra Filiz Saygılı and Sümeyye Aksoy were taken into police custody over their alleged use of ByLock, a controversial, encrypted mobile app that the government believes to be the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement.

The government had also dismissed corruption allegations billing them as attempts to topple down its rule. However, well-documented similar allegations have recently resurfaced in a separate investigation in the US with an Iranian-Turkish gold trader Reza Zarrab being accused of violating UN sanctions against Iran with the help of corrupt Turkish officials including former ministers.

More than 130,000 people have been detained since the summer of 2016 over Gülen ties, most of whom including Amnesty International’s Turkey director Taner Kılıç is accused of using ByLock.

Yakup Saygılı, former chief of the İstanbul police’s anti-fraud unit and Kazım Aksoy, İstanbul’s ex-deputy criminal police chief have already been under arrest for 3 years.

Meanwhile, a Şanlıurfa teacher, identified with his initials I.P., who was removed from his job in the aftermath of a controversial coup on July 15, 2016, was detained along with his wife and four children, according to Doğan news agency on Thursday.

Gendarmerie stopped 6 people near Turkey’s Greek border in Edirne’s Hüyüklütatar village. The detainees turn out to be I.P., his wife and four children. Media said the teacher has long been under investigation over his Bank Asya account and alleged use of ByLock.

Since the now defunct Bank Asya was founded by Gulen followers as well, account holders are considered as coup suspects now. Many tried to escape Turkey via illegal ways as the government cancelled their passports like thousands of others.

At least 144 people affiliated with the Gülen movement were detained in two months while trying to flee to nearby Greek islands, according to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency. The report said that 144 were detained as part of the operations in the resort province of Muğla in September and October. Some of the suspect were rounded up by coast guard off Muğla shores while some were caught upon tips off about their departure even before they took aboard.

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 the coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

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 Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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. (SCF with turkeypurge.com)

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