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40 military personnel detained over Gülen links

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As of Thursday morning, 40 members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) had been detained over alleged links to the Gülen movement.

Police operations across 26 Turkish provinces targeted 71 military personnel, 40 of whom were detained for allegedly using ByLock, a smart phone application that the government considers a secret messaging tool for sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

The government holds the faith-based Gülen (Hizmet) movement responsible for an attempted coup on July 15 and has been conducting an unprecedented crackdown against its real and perceived sympathizers.

A leaked EU intelligence report in January stated that there is no evidence of the Gülen movement as the mastermind of the coup, unlike the Turkish government’s claims.

A report issued by the Council of Europe in December indicated that Turkey’s purge of its military since a botched coup in July has cut its armed forces by a third, adding that NATO has raised concerns that Turkey’s response to the failed coup has worryingly thinned its forces.

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 March 1, 93,248 people were being held without charge, with an additional 46,274 in pre-trial detention.

A total of 7,316 academics have been dismissed and 4,070 judges and prosecutors purged over alleged coup involvement or terrorist links.

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