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Detention warrants issued for 37 educators in Ankara over Gülen links

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The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday issued detention warrants for 37 educators as part of an investigation into the Private Akıllı Schools due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

According to the report, police launched an operation to detain 37 teachers and executives of the schools including owner İdris Yurteri. Police also raided 17 school buildings in six district of Ankara, while a penal court of peace limited the disposition of the schools.

The prosecutor’s office accused Yurteri of using of a smart phone application known as ByLock, which is alleged to be a communication tool among followers of the Gülen movement, and in 2012 stayed at a hotel where former Brig. Gen. Gökhan Şahin Sönmezateş, who was sentenced to four aggravated life sentences for allegedly plotting to kill Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, was also a guest at the same time.

The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 379 teachers who worked in schools owned by people close to the Gülen movement in the first four months of 2018.

President Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (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.

Turkish Education Ministry Undersecretary Yusuf Tekin in Mach 2018 said some 2,500 schools, prep schools and dormitories linked to the Gülen movement were closed and confiscated and that about 30,000 teachers and staff working for the ministry were dismissed.

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Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 12, 2017 that 234,419 passports had been revoked as part of investigations into the movement since the failed coup.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