86 police officers, court staff detained over Gülen links

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Eighty-six police officers and courthouse staff members were detained across several Turkish provinces on Friday due to alleged use of a smart phone application called ByLock and links to the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government blames for a failed coup last July, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

According to the report, 37 police officers were detained in nine provinces as part of an operation launched in Gaziantep on Friday.

In a parallel operation directed from Adana, 36 police officers were detained in five provinces.

In the meantime, 13 people who work at the İstanbul Courthouse were detained on Friday over alleged Gülen movement links.

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.

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 135,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 90,000 detained and over 43,000 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.

A report by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) published by The Times newspaper of London on Jan. 17 revealed that the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge, contradicting the Turkish government’s claim that Fethullah Gülen was behind the plot to overthrow it.

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