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20 arrested, 11 released in Elazığ operation over links to Gülen movement

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A Turkish court on Friday arrested 20 people, including pharmacists and medical staff, in Elazığ, and released 11 others as part of an Elazığ-based operation over links to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup on July 15.

The suspects were detained after police carried out operations in Adıyaman and Diyarbakır provinces on Nov. 9.

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 US-based 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.

More than 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.

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