Local governor detained over Gülen links

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Hayrabolu governor Kürşad Özdemir

A local governor in the Hayrabolu district of Tekirdağ province was detained on Saturday over alleged links to the Gülen movement, as part of an ongoing purge in Turkey.

Governor Kürşad Özdemir was detained for using a smart phone application named ByLock, which according to the government is evidence of links to the Gülen movement.

The government holds the movement responsible for a failed coup on July 15 and has been conducting a massive purge since the day after the botched coup.

In January, a report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government immediately put the blame for the July 15 failed coup attempt on the Gülen movement, the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge, according to a report by The Times newspaper.

The European intelligence contradicts the Turkish government’s claim that Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, a cleric living in self-exile whose views inspired the movement, was behind the plot to overthrow the Turkish government.

In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, 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.

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