966 detained in one week in witch-hunt targeting Gülen movement

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The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that a total of 966 people have been detained in the past week as part of an ongoing witch-hunt carried out by the government against the faith-based Gülen movement.

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.

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.

On Sunday President Erdoğan called for support for operations against the Gülen movement.

“I call on all to give support. We will wage a more decisive struggle,” he said.

“There are currently 221,607 inmates in prisons. Prison capacity is 203,000, making them 9 percent over capacity,” said Justice Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Basri Bağcı informed Parliament, saying that some inmates have to sleep in shifts.

As many questions still persist as to what happened before and after a coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, Major O.K. said in his testimony that he personally went and informed the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) at 14:30, about seven hours before the coup attempt started.

It was also revealed in February that Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and  MİT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan had a six-hour meeting in Ankara a day before the failed coup.

“It was a coup attempt designed to fail,” said main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu last month.

Contrary to accusations made by President Erdoğan and the Turkish government, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament concluded in March that Gülen and the movement he inspired as a whole were not behind the failed coup in Turkey.

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 the failed coup in July.

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 putsch in Turkey.

In addition, 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.

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