22 İTÜ staff including academics arrested over Gülen links

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Twenty-two out of 28 administrative and academic staff members from İstanbul Technical University (İTÜ) who were referred to court for arrest on Monday due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement were arrested on Tuesday.

The İTÜ staff members are accused of using a smart phone application known as ByLock, which is the top communication tool among the followers of the Gülen movement, according to Turkish authorities.

A total of 33 staff members from İTÜ were detained earlier this month. Eleven of them were released on judicial probation.

The Gülen movement is held responsible by the government for a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016, although no credible evidence has been presented to the public. The peaceful movement rejects the allegations, and Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has denounced anyone who believes in his principles who might have participated in the coup.

A leaked report from the European Union’s intelligence agency in January revealed that there is no evidence of Gülen’s masterminding of the coup attempt. Some anonymous NATO sources even claim that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan staged the coup as a pretext to undertake a purge.

Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention due to their alleged links to the movement.

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