Detention warrants have been issued for 73 air force pilots at the 3rd Main Jet Airbase in Konya as part of post-coup operations targeting alleged followers of the faith-based Gülen movement.
Simultaneous raids were being conducted in locations across 17 provinces on Thursday to detain the officers as part of an investigation conducted by the Konya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
This was the fourth wave of operations targeting alleged Gülen followers at the 3rd Main Jet Airbase. Dozens of military officers at the base have been detained or arrested so far.
Twenty-nine officers were recently arrested as part of the third wave of operations at the air base.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, which launched a war against the Gülen movement following the eruption of a corruption scandal in late 2013 in which senior government members were implicated, carried its ongoing crackdown on the movement and its sympathizers to a new level after a failed coup attempt on July 15 that killed 240 people and injured a thousand others.
Although the movement strongly denies having any role in the corruption probe or the coup attempt, the government accuses it of having masterminded both despite the lack of any tangible evidence.
Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a great 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.
More than 100,000 people have been purged from state bodies, nearly 76,000 detained and 35,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police officers, military personnel, doctors, court personnel and even a comedian.