As part of a witch-hunt targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, which is accused by the government of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 12 people including academics were detained at Ege University in Izmir, the DHA news agency reported on Friday.
According to the report, 12 people were detained for their use of a smart phone application called ByLock. Turkish authorities consider ByLock to be the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement.
Last week, six academics including a rector were detained at Namık Kemal University in Tekirdağ due to alleged links to the Gülen movement.
Thirty-eight academics from the same university, including vice rectors, were detained two weeks ago as part of the same investigation. Nine were arrested and 29 were released.
According to a report issued in March 2017 by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), 4,811 academics have been dismissed from 112 universities across the country through decrees issued during a state of emergency declared after the failed coup attempt.
However, a BBC Turkish report published in November 2016 said a total 19,828 academics have been dismissed, stripped of the right to teach at universities or have become unemployed due to the closure of their universities by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
According to the report, 3,850 academics have been directly dismissed as part of an investigation targeting the Gülen movement with state of emergency decrees issued following the putsch.
A total of 13,170 academics who were part of a program for training lecturers were deprived of the right to become university staff through another state of emergency decree.
A total of 2,808 academics became unemployed when the government closed down 15 private universities on July 23 with a state of emergency decree.
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 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.
Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15.
According to a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.