Former cadets, officers among 54 detained over alleged Gülen links

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Turkish police on Friday detained 54 people as part of an İstanbul-based operation targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

The detainees include former military officers who were purged from the service as part of a government-led post-coup purge as well as former cadets and active duty officers.

Simultaneous police raids were conducted across 17 provinces as part of the investigation overseen by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Following the coup attempt the Turkish government also removed more than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs due to alleged Gülen links.

According to a statement from Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Nov. 26, a total of 292,000 people have been detained while 96,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there are currently 25,655 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed due to links to the Gülen movement.

Since the coup attempt, followers of the Gülen movement have been subjected to a massive crackdown, with the Turkish government and pro-government media outlets demonizing its members.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

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