40, fleeing gov’t witch-hunt against Gülen movement, arrested

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Forty out of 61 people who were detained in İstanbul while in hiding because of an ongoing government witch-hunt targeting the faith-based Gülen movement were arrested on Monday.

Last week, 61 people were detained in an investigation into Gülen followers who were in hiding in İstanbul. The detainees included Sadettin Ulubay, the owner of Emex Hotels. Ulubay was also arrested on Monday.

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 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, 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 Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey.

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