21 air force officers arrested in post-coup purge in Konya

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ANKARA, TURKEY - JULY 17: Military Officers including Turkish former Air Force Commander Gen. Akin Ozturk (not seen) are seen under custody at Ankara Police Headquarters Counter-Terrorism Branch following the failed Parallel State/Gulenist Terrorist Organization's military coup attempt, in Ankara, Turkey on July 17, 2016. “Parallel state” is an illegal terrorist organization backed by U.S.-based preacher Fetullah Gulen. Murat Kula / Anadolu Agency

 

Twenty-one officers serving at the 3rd Main Jet Airbase in Konya were arrested as part of post-coup witch-hunt operations by a court in Konya on Saturday, CNNTürk reported.

 

Officers who were detained on Tuesday were arrested for “violating the constitution, attempting to prevent the functioning of the legislature, rioting against the government and against the Republic of Turkey, membership in FETÖ [a term used by the Turkish government to label the Gülen movement] and working for a terrorist organization.”

 

The 2nd Criminal Court of the southern province of Hatay on Oct. 1 rejected an indictment on “FETÖ,” stating that no such terrorist organization has been officially identified.

 

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 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 70,000 detained and 32,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police officers, military personnel, doctors, court personnel and even a comedian.

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