Defense Ministry suspends 291 officers, expels 19 others over alleged Gülen links

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Turkey’s Defense Ministry has announced that it has suspended 291 officers and expelled 19 others at the Naval Forces Command over their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

The announcement was made on Sunday from the Twitter account of the Defense Ministry.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a 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 110,000 people have been purged from state bodies, 35,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.

 

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