Justice minister: 1,500 prison personnel, guards suspended in Turkey post-coup probe

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Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ

Some 1,500 prison personnel and guards have been suspended over alleged links to the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government accuses of orchestrating a failed coup attempt on July 15, Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Sunday.

Speaking at an event in Ankara, Bozdağ said the prison staff and guards were temporarily suspended to remove individuals linked to cleric Fethullah Gülen in Turkish prisons, but could be fired if concrete links were found.

Gülen is a US-based Turkish Islamic scholar and the inspiration for the Gülen movement, which is a civil society movement known for its focus in promoting education, cultural dialogue and peace, with more than 3,000 institutions in 170 countries around the world.

Despite Gülen having repeatedly denied the accusations and proposing the formation of an international commission to investigate the coup attempt, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has sacked more than 100,000 civil servants from state jobs, detained over 40,000 and arrested more than 24,000 due to alleged links to the Gülen movement. The AKP government has also closed or seized thousands of institutions, including schools, universities and business associations, over ties to Gülen.

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