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Detention warrants issued for 40 at closed-down university over Gülen links

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The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 40 individuals including academics and staff members at the Ankara-based Turgut Özal University, which was closed down by the government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt last July due to its links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

The academics and staff members are accused of using a smart phone application known as ByLock, which is considered by Turkish authorities as the top communications tool among the followers of the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding the putsch, although the movement strongly denies any involvement.

The coup attempt on July 15 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 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 due to Gülen links.

Dozens of educational institutions and media outlets were shut down while hundreds of companies were seized by the government due to their links to the Gülen movement in the aftermath of the failed coup.

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