Turkey detains 696 people over alleged Gülen links past week

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Turkish police detained 696 people between Dec. 3 and Dec. 10 as part of its post-coup crackdown targeting followers of the Gülen movement, according to a statement released by the Turkish Interior Ministry on Monday.

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 coup attempt in July 2016. Despite the movement strongly denying involvement in the failed coup, the Turkish government launched a witch-hunt targeting the group following the abortive putsch.

Since then, some 140,000 public servants have been dismissed by government decrees and more than 600,000 people investigated on terrorism charges.

The European Commission said in a report on April 17 that since the introduction of a now-ended state of emergency on July 20, 2016, over 150,000 people were taken into custody and 78,000 were arrested.

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