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114 detained, 43 arrested in İstanbul-based operation over alleged Gülen links

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Turkish police on Saturday detained 114 people over alleged affiliation with the Gülen movement as part of an İstanbul-based operation conducted across the country, the Anka news agency reported on Saturday.

The police carried out simultaneous raids in 32 provinces after detention warrants were issued for 154 people accused of links to the faith-based Gülen movement, inspired by the teachings of US-based Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen.

Thirteen of those people were discovered to have left the country, while police efforts to find 27 individuals are still underway.

According to Anka, 33 of the 114 people detained on Saturday were released on orders of a prosecutor after giving their statements. While 43 people were arrested over links to the Gülen movement, 38 others were released under judicial supervision.

Following an attempted coup on July 15, 2016, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) government put the blame on the Gülen movement, labeling the group as a terrorist organization.

Although both Gülen and the members of his movement strongly deny any involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activities, Erdoğan’s AKP launched a massive purge targeting real and alleged members of the faith-based group under the pretext of an anti-coup fight.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced in November that 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, while scores of others had to flee the country to avoid the crackdown.

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