67 union executives sought for detention over alleged Gülen links

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The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Thursday issued detention warrants for 67 members of Aksiyon-İş, a union confederation which was closed by government following the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, over links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

According to the report, 67 people were executives of 7 unions under the umbrella of Aksiyon-İş. 33 of 67 have been detained in operations in 12 provinces while 34 are still at large.

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 AKP government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

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.

A total of 62,895 people were detained in 2017 as part of witch-hunt targeting the 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Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Dec. 12 that 55,665 people have been jailed and 234,419 passports have been revoked as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.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 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 Ministry of Justice plans to build 228 new prisons with a capacity of 137,687 in the next five years.

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