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Detention warrants issued for 171 Fatih University staff members, academics

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Detention warrants have been issued for 171 academics and other staff members of Fatih University, which was seized and closed by the government last year, as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement launched by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

According to the report, police have detained 54 of the 171 staff members in 29 provinces while 117 are still at large. Twenty-six of the detainees are women.

One suspect was reported to have been previously jailed as part of another investigation.

On June 9, 2016 the Büyükçekmece 5th Court of First Instance ruled to appoint trustees to the Health and Treatment Foundation, which established Fatih University, in a government-led move targeting sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

Along with other 14 universities Fatih University was shut down by the first state of emergency decree, No. 667, on the grounds that they were linked to the Gülen movement, following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The Gülen movement is accused by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of orchestrating the failed coup, a claim the movement denies.

There is no information about the number of administrative staff members working at the universities who were affected, but 2,808 academics were left unemployed and about 65,000 students had to seek new universities according to figures from Turkey’s Council of Higher Education (YÖK).

Another state decree in September 2016 targeted 15,000 research assistants for their alleged links to the Gülen movement. They were part of an Assistant Professor Training Program (ÖYP) that was launched in 2010 to meet the need for academics in Turkey.

Following the dismissal of 105 academics by means of new state of emergency decree issued on Dec. 24 , the number of academics fired by decree-laws issued by the ruling AKP government has reached 5,822, bianet reported on Monday.

According to the report a total of 1,258 administrative staff members have been dismissed by government decree, while 141 academics have been allowed to return their posts since Sept. 1, 2016.

Amid an ongoing witch-hunt targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Dec. 12 that 55,665 people have been jailed and 234,419 passports have been revoked as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Minister Soylu on Nov. 16 had said 48,739 people had been jailed and eight holdings and 1,020 companies seized as part of operations against the movement.

The Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15 through government decrees issued as part of an ongoing state of emergency.

According to Ministry of Justice data, there are currently 384 prisons with a capacity of 207,279 in Turkey; however, the total number of inmates was 228,983 as of October 2017.

The Turkish Ministry of Justice plans to build 228 new prisons with a capacity of 137,687 in the next five years.

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