One of the nephews of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen was arrested in the Turgutlu district of western Manisa province on Thursday as part of an ongoing crackdown on followers of the faith-based Gülen movement.
Gülen’s nephew, identified only by the initials M.A.S., was detained in a police operation on Jan. 6. Three other people were also arrested along with M.A.S. due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.
Many other of Gülen’s family members including one of his brothers, nephews and nieces have also been arrested since a failed coup attempt on July 15.
Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.
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 and 43,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.