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Court jails 21 more people in witch-hunt targeting Gülen movement

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A Turkish court has ruled for the arrest of 21 civilians on Saturday over alleged links to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a July 15 coup attempt, the pro-government Karar daily reported.

Detention warrants were issued for 34 individuals from Ağrı early on Friday. Hours later, police teams carried out simultaneous operations in the province and detained all the suspects, 21 of whom were sent to prison on Saturday.

The arrestees are reportedly accused of having links to the Gülen movement, using a smart phone application known as ByLock and attending public meetings organized by movement followers.

Strongly denying any role in the putsch, Fethullah Gülen, whose views inspired the Gülen movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Recep Tayyip 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.

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 were dismissed, and 4,070 judges and prosecutors were purged over alleged coup involvement or terrorist links.

(Turkey Purge)

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