Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for a total of 4,900 people in the police force due to their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, with 1,009 of them having been taken into custody so far.
According to a statement from Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Wednesday, 1,009 people were detained in simultaneous raids across 72 provinces in the operation targeting alleged followers of the Gülen movement in the police force.
A total of 8,500 police officers are taking part in the operation, which is overseen by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
The high number of detentions, the biggest since a failed coup attempt on July 15, came following the approval of a constitutional reform package in a referendum on April 16 that gave Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vast executive powers.
Turkey survived 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 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.
According to a statement from Interior Minister Soylu on April 2, a total of 113,260 people have been detained as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt, while 47,155 were put into pre-trial detention.