Thirty-seven people including retired generals and active-duty officers as well as civilians were detained across 13 Turkish provinces on Thursday as part of an operation against alleged followers of the faith-based Gülen movement.
The İzmir-based operation was launched by İzmir Public Prosecutor Berkant Karakaya, who is in charge of the Terrorism and Organized Crime Investigation Bureau, in connection with claims that “fake evidence was produced in a military espionage investigation in İzmir by means of various irregularities.”
The detainees were taken to İzmir for questioning.
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 110,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 80,000 detained and over 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.