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35 detained in operations targeting Gülen-linked dormitories

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Thirty-five people have been detained as part of an investigation conducted by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office into dormitories linked to the faith-based Gülen movement.

The prosecutor’s office issued detention warrants for a total of 136 people across 20 provinces.

Seventy of those on the detention list were allegedly using a smart phone application known as ByLock, which according to prosecutors, is the top communication tool among members of the Gülen movement, accused by the government of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15.

The individuals on the detention list are reportedly founders, administrators and owners of the 29 Gülen-linked dormitories in Ankara, which were all closed down by the government in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

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.

More than 115,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 90,000 detained and over 39,000 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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