Ninety-five individuals were detained across Turkey on Monday as part of a witch-hunt targeting people linked to the Gülen movement, which the government accuses of attempting a military coup on July 15, 2016, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
According to the report, 11 military personnel, 23 police and 11 academics were among those detained as part of investigations launched in İzmir, Giresun, Balıkesir, Edirne, Erzincan, Siirt and Kilis provinces. Seventeen suspects are still at large.
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. Gülen 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.
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.