Turkish gov’t detains 10,472 over Gülen links in last four months

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Nazlı Mert, a Turkish woman with a 10-month-old baby, was put behind bars over alleged links to the Gülen movement on April 23, 2018.

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that 489 people have been detained in the past week due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, bringing the total number of people detained in first four months of the year to 10,472.

Turkish police detained a total of 8,188 people over alleged links to the movement in the first three months of 2018.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government pursued a crackdown on the Gülen movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which the inner circle of the government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated.

Erdoğan also accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Despite the movement strongly denying involvement in the failed coup, Erdoğan launched a witch-hunt targeting the movement following the putsch.

The European Commission (EC) on April 17 called on the Turkish government to “lift the state of emergency without delay,” saying that widespread dismissals, arrests and detentions continue to raise serious concerns.

Citing “the broad scale and collective nature, and the disproportionality of measures,” the EC in its “2018 Report on Turkey” said: “Since the introduction of the state of emergency, over 150 000 people were taken into custody, 78 000 were arrested and over 110 000 civil servants were dismissed whilst, according to the authorities, some 40 000 were reinstated of which some 3 600 by decree.”

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 12, 2017 that 234,419 passports have been revoked as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup.

On Nov. 16, 2017 Soylu had said eight holdings and 1,020 companies were seized as part of operations against the movement.

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