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1,218 officers expelled from Gendarmerie Forces Command over Gülen links

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Turkey’s Interior Ministry on Thursday dismissed a total of 1,218 officers from the Gendarmerie Forces Command due to their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.

A statement made by the ministry said 419 officers, 604 noncommissioned officers, 158 specialized gendarmerie sergeants, 28 specialized sergeants and nine civil servants have been expelled from their posts at the Gendarmerie Forces Command.

The Gendarmerie Forces Command and the Coast Guard Command were transferred to the Interior Ministry from the General Staff in July.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the movement, and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

About 120,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 80,000 detained and more than 36,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.


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