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Turkish police detain 14 over alleged Gülen links

Turkish police on Monday detained 14 people out of 26 facing detention warrants as part of an investigation into members of the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016.

The 26 people for whom detention warrants were issued by the Balıkesir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in western Turkey include seven active duty and 15 former military officers and four civilians. They are accused of secretly communicating via pay phone, a method that Turkish prosecutors believe is a means of communicating with the Gülen movement.

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.

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 in February, 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.

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