Turkish prosecutors ordered detention of 342 people over alleged Gülen links in a week

Turkish prosecutors ordered detention of 342 people over alleged Gülen links in a week

Turkish prosecutors have over the past week ordered the detention of 342 people on terrorism charges due to their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing local media.

The İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday issued detention warrants for 112 people, including 15 active duty officers, 32 retired officers and 65 former military cadets on allegations that they were members of the Gülen movement within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).

The next day, an additional 31 suspects were detained based on warrants issued by the same office.

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 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.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday and Friday issued detention warrants for a total of 137 people, including former students at the Police Academy.

During the week an additional 93 detention warrants were issued by prosecutors in Adana, Edirne, Kocaeli, Malatya, Balıkesir and Afyon for individuals accused of links to the Gülen movement.

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 Monday.

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, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 29,444 members of the armed forces, 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.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.