493 detained last week, 62,895 in 2017 over Gülen movement links

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(Photo: Sözcü)

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that 493 people were detained last week due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, accused by the government of masterminding a botched coup attempt in summer 2016, bringing the total number of people detained in 2017 to 62,895.

The ministry announced on Dec. 25 that 617 people had been detained the previous week.
According to a ministry statement on Nov. 27, 2,589 people were detained in November over alleged links to the movement, for a total of 5,747 detained in the October-November period.

A total of 3,158 people were detained in October in a witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch the ruling 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.

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Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Dec. 12 that 55,665 people have been jailed and 234,419 passports have been revoked as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since the failed coup attempt in July 2016.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