11 detained in western Turkey over alleged Gülen links

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Turkish police on Wednesday detained 11 people in operations across three provinces in western Turkey due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The Gülen movement is accused by the Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and is labeled a “terrorist organization,” although the movement denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

The detentions took place as part of an investigation in Balıkesir province. The 11 people were detained following simultaneous police raids in Bursa, Çanakkale and Balıkesir provinces.

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.

The Turkish government removed more than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs on alleged Gülen links following the coup attempt.

Meanwhile, Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on February 20 that a total of 622,646 people have been the subject of investigation and 301,932 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 25,467 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed on alleged links to the Gülen movement.

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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