The Konya Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday issued detention warrants for 70 active duty and former members of the Turkish military as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
According to the report, police launched operation in 23 provinces to detain military personnel, 43 of whom are on active duty.
On May 15, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued arrest warrants for 31 active duty and three retired members from the Naval Forces Command as part of an investigation into the movement.
On May 14, detention warrants were issued in Ankara for 25 active duty and 47 retired colonels from the Turkish Land Forces over alleged links to the Gülen movement. The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s office on May 11 issued detention warrants for 211 active duty and 89 former military members of varying ranks.
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 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.
The ruling AKP government dismissed 24,977 military members including 150 generals, 4,630 officers, 2,167 noncommissioned officers, 1,210 specialized sergeants, 411 civil servants and workers, and 16,409 cadets following the failed coup over alleged links to the Gülen movement.
Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli on April 18 said the government had identified 3,000 active duty military officers suspected of links to the Gülen movement and that they would be dismissed with a government decree in the coming days.
Official statements claim that 8,651 military members including cadets and privates took part in the failed coup.
Director General of Public Security Selami Altınok on Dec. 12 said 22,987 police officers have been dismissed over alleged links to the Gülen movement.
“If it was a coup perpetrated by the Gülen movement and 25,000 military personnel and 22,987 police officers were dismissed for their connections to the movement, why did only 8,651 military members including cadets and privates participate in the coup?” is a question being asked by critics.
The head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, last year said Turkey could not convince them that US-based Turkish-Islamic scholar Gülen was behind the failed coup in July.
Similarly, Devin Nunes, chairman of United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he has not seen any evidence showing Gülen’s involvement in the putsch in Turkey.
In addition, a report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge.