17 more teachers sought by prosecutor over Gülen links

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Detention warrants were issued on Thursday for 17 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 probe police conducted operations in seven provinces and detained five of 17 teachers who were former staff members of schools closed down by a state of emergency decree following a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

Some of the teachers were accused of using a smart phone application known as ByLock and having account in Bank Asya, which was seized in 2015 and closed down by the Turkish government following the coup attempt.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on April 10 had issued detention warrants for 79 teachers who were former staff members at schools linked to the Gülen movement.

The tr724 news website reported in early March that the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office had issued 300 detention warrants in one month for teachers who had worked at schools owned by people close to the movement.

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 the failed coup attempt in July 2016.

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

According to a European Commission (EC) report on April 17, “since the introduction of the state of emergency on July 20, 2016, over 150 000 people were taken into custody, 78 000 were arrested and over 110 000 civil servants were dismissed.”

Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Dec. 12, 2017 that 234,419 passports had been revoked as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup.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