501 detained, 63 arrested in anti-Gülen operations in one week

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A total of 501 people were detained, with 63 of them put under arrest, in operations targeting the faith-based Gülen movement over the past week, according to a statement from Turkey’s Interior Ministry on Monday.

The detentions and arrests took place between Feb. 13 and 20.

In operations targeting the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Turkish police detained 21 people over the past week, the ministry said.

As a result of operations targeting left-wing terror organizations, the ministry said 15 suspects were detained in the same period while 10 militants from the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were killed during security operations.

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.

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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