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42 detained in Elazığ-based operation due to alleged Gülen links

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Turkish police teams on Thursday detained 42 out of 53 people for whom detention warrants were issued as part of an out of Elazığ due to their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement.

The detentions took place across 23 provinces including Elazığ following simultaneous police raids.

The detention warrants were issued by the Elazığ Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. The suspects are reportedly staff members who used to work for Gülen-linked schools and prep schools that were closed down in the aftermath of a failed coup on July 15, 2016.

The military coup attempt 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 an ongoing witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Jan. 5 said 48,305 people were jailed in 2017 alone over Gülen movement links.

Soylu said on Dec. 12 that 55,665 people have been jailed and 234,419 passports have been revoked as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup.

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