967 more people detained for alleged Gülen links over past week

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The Turkish government has detained 967 more people across Turkey over the past week (May 7-May 14) as part of a post-coup witch hunt targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement, according to a written statement released by the Interior Ministry on Monday.

Police detained a total of 10,472 people over alleged links to the movement in the first four months of 2018.

Detention warrants were issued for 14 people including two suspended teachers and 12 students and alumni of Abant İzzet Baysal University on Monday in the Black Sea province of Bolu over their alleged links to the Gülen movement. The Bolu Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued the warrants after these people were accused of using the ByLock mobile phone messaging application.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is a communication tool among alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and even housewives, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Also on Monday, 21 people, including 19 military officers, were detained in 18 provinces across Turkey and northern Cyprus in an Ağrı-based investigation targeting alleged members of the movement. The detainees including three majors and two captains. Among the detainees is Silivri district gendarmerie commander Maj. Mustafa Yoldaş. The detentions came after the issuance of warrants by the Ağrı Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for 23 military members.

In a Tokat-based investigation 15 military personnel were detained on Monday in Ankara, Çanakkale, Diyarbakır, Giresun, İstanbul, Kahramanmaraş, Kırklareli, Kocaeli, Mersin, Samsun and Tokat provinces over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15, 2016. On Dec. 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup in July 2016.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

(Stockholm Center for Freedom [SCF])

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