143 people face detention over alleged Gülen links

143 people face detention over alleged Gülen links

Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 143 people including former public officials due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in 2016, the tr724 news website reported.

The detention warrants, issued by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, target 86 former public servants including police chiefs who were fired following the coup attempt, among others.

Police were conducting raids across 43 provinces to detain the suspects.

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 the abortive putsch on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced in February that a total of 622,646 people have been the subject of investigation and 301,932 have been detained, while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there are currently 25,467 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed on alleged links to the movement.

The Turkish government also removed more than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs on alleged Gülen links following the coup attempt.