Turkish police teams on Monday detained 42 people at İstanbul’s Boğaziçi and Medeniyet universities over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the Doğan news agency has reported.
According to the report, the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office is seeking the detention of 72 people on charges of supporting the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of orchestrating a failed coup attempt last July, a claim the movement denies.
The detention warrants were issued for eight people at Boğaziçi University including Associate Professor Koray Çalışkan and 64 people at Medeniyet University including 19 assistant professors at the university’s faculty of medicine.
The report said the majority of people for whom detention warrants were issued are users of a smart phone application called ByLock, which Turkish authorities consider to be the top communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) İstanbul Deputy Oğuz Kaan Salıcı, who announced the news about Çalışkan’s detention from his Twitter account on Monday, said: “March for 25 days for justice, chant the word ‘justice’ with millions. And the house of a professor from a state-run university is raided early in the morning. Good morning, new Turkey!”
Salıcı was referring to the March of Justice launched by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on June 15 from Ankara to İstanbul in protest of the arrest of CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.
The end of the march was marked with a Justice Rally in the Maltepe district of İstanbul on Sunday. In his rally speech, the CHP leader called on the government to comply with a 10-item list of demands.
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.
Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced on July 7, 2017 that at least 50,504 people have been arrested and 168,801 have been the subject of legal proceedings.