The Tekirdağ Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 90 soldiers of various ranks as part of a witch-hunt targeting people claimed to have links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by Turkish authorities of orchestrating a failed coup in Turkey last summer, CNNTürk reported on Friday.
According to the report, 50 soldiers have been detained in operations carried out simultaneously in 15 provinces across Turkey. The operations are continuing for the soldiers still at large.
The coup attempt on July 15 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.
Erdoğan called the botched coup a great gift of God as he immediately put the blame on Fethullah Gülen and the movement he inspired.
Contrary to accusations made by Erdoğan and the Turkish government, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament concluded last week that Gülen and the movement he inspired as a whole were not behind a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15.
The committee concluded that “Given the brutality of the events of 15 July, the severity of the charges made against the Gülenists, and the scale of the purges of perceived Gülenists that has been justified on this basis, there is a relative lack of hard, publicly–available evidence to prove that the Gülenists as an organisation were responsible for the coup attempt in Turkey. While there is evidence to indicate that some individual Gülenists were involved, it is mostly anecdotal or circumstantial, sometimes premised on information from confessions or informants, and is—so far—inconclusive in relation to the organisation as a whole or its leadership.”
The UK Parliament statement came a week after Germany rejected Erdoğan and the Turkish government’s accusations against the Gülen movement about July 15.
The head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, said Turkey could not convince them that US-based Turkish-Islamic scholar Gülen was behind a failed coup attempt on July 15.
Similarly, Devin Nunes, chairman of United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he has not seen any evidence showing Gülen’s involvement in the failed coup attempt in Turkey.
In January, a report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge.
Despite Gülen and the movement having denied the accusation and calling for an international investigation, the government launched 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 connections to the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10.
As of March 23, 94,982 people were being held without charge, with an additional 47,128 in pre-trial detention due to their alleged links to the movement. A total of 7,317 academics were purged, and 4,272 judges and prosecutors were dismissed due to alleged involvement in the coup attempt.