Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 36 active duty, retired and dismissed military officers over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, according to Turkish media reports.
The Gülen movement is accused by the Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of masterminding the 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 detention warrants for 24 active duty, three retired and nine dismissed officers were issued by the Balıkesir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in western Turkey. They are accused of secretly communicating via pay phone, a method that Turkish prosecutors believe is a means of communicating with the Gülen movement.
Police were conducting operations across 32 provinces to detain the suspects.
According to a statement from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in November, 5,587 officers have been purged from the military since the coup attempt. A total of 1,512 retired officers were stripped of their rank in the same period.
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.
According to a statement from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu last month, 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.