Turkish police on Tuesday detained 104 former and active duty police and military officers in two separate operations based in the western province of İzmir due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
As part of the first operation, detention warrants were issued for 126 active duty officers and former police officers, with 63 of them detained in police raids across 39 provinces. The detainees are accused of calling Gülen movement members using pay phones.
Following the coup attempt, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) launched investigations into officers who used pay phones and expelled many of them over alleged Gülen links.
Turkish authorities believe Gülen followers in the TSK and public agencies used pay phones as a means of communication among themselves, fearing that their mobile phones could be tapped.
As part of the second operation, 41 police officers who were purged from their jobs in the aftermath of the coup attempt were detained in simultaneous police raids across six provinces.
Following the coup attempt the Turkish government removed more than 130,000 civil servants from their positions 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 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.