Detention warrants issued for 70 more teachers over Gülen links

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Detention warrants were issued on Friday for 70 teachers as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

According to the report, as part of an Ankara-based investigation, police launched operations in 16 provinces to detain 70 teachers who were former staff members at schools closed by a state of emergency decree following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Some of the reachers were accused of using a smart phone application known as ByLock, while others were accused of having deposited money at Bank Asya, which was seized by the government in 2015.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is a communication tool among followers of 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 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 the witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Dec. 12 that 55,665 people had been jailed and 234,419 passports revoked as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup.

Minister Soylu on Nov. 16 said eight holdings and 1,020 companies were 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, 2016 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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