Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 85 people working at Turkey’s education and energy ministries over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15.
Sixty of the individuals work for the Energy Ministry, while 25 work at the Education Ministry, according to Turkish media reports. Some of them have already been fired from their jobs as part of an ongoing government-led witch-hunt against Gülen followers.
As of Tuesday morning, 40 of the people for whom detention warrants were issued had been detained in police operations, while a search was under way to detain the others.
All 85 are reportedly users of a smart phone application known as ByLock, which Turkish authorities consider to be the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement.
Tens of thousands of civil servants, police officers and businessmen have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since the failed coup attempt.
The military coup attempt 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.