41,326 arrested in Turkey over Gülen links since coup attempt

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The Ministry of Justice has announced that since a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, a total of 41,326 people have been arrested on charges of links to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of being behind the failed coup.

As part of a massive purge currently ongoing in Turkey, a total of 103,850 people have been the subject of an investigation since the putsch, according to official figures.

The state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Monday that 2,286 of the 41,326 arrestees are judges and prosecutors. Among the jailed judges, 104 are from the Supreme Court of Appeals, 41 from the Council of State and two are from the Constitutional Court.

A total of 6,325 soldiers have been arrested, 168 of them high-ranking generals. There are 17 governors, 74 deputy governors and 100 provincial governors among bureaucrats jailed on coup charges.

Turkey blames the Gülen movement for plotting the botched coup although Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen denies it. Since the day after the coup attempt, which president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called a “great gift of God,” Turkey has been conducting a massive purge against real and perceived sympathizers of the movement. Over 111,000 people have been purged from public positions due to alleged Gülen links.

According to the numbers released on Monday, 10,265 people were released after an investigation, while 35,495 remain on probation on suspicion of being Gülen movement sympathizers.

In addition to the high tally of arrestees, arrest warrants have been issued for 5,150 judges, prosecutors and military and police officers as well as other bureaucrats.

In addition to bureaucrats, over 145 journalists have been arrested in Turkey, most of whom are accused of disseminating propaganda for the Gülen movement. Even journalist Ahmet Şık who has been a staunch critic of the movement and who claimed that Gülen movement sympathizers arrested him in 2011, is currently in jail due to alleged propaganda for the movement.

As a result of Turkey’s unprecedented purge, a number of bureaucrats, mainly military personnel, have sought asylum in countries including Germany, the United States and Belgium.

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