Turkish authorities have over the past week ordered the detention of 84 people including lawyers, teachers, active duty and dismissed police officers and former cadets due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported citing Turkish media outlets.
The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday issued detention warrants for 15 lawyers over alleged links to the movement. Police conducted operations across nine provinces to detain the suspects.
The same office in a separate investigation on Wednesday ordered the detention of 19 people including teachers and active duty and dismissed police officers. Detention warrants for 17 former police officers were also issued on Wednesday over alleged Gülen links by the Gaziantep Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in southeastern Turkey.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, his family members, and his inner circle.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following an abortive putsch on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Turkish police today detained 19 former police academy students as part of an İstanbul-based operation due to their alleged links to the movement after prosecutors issued detention warrants for 33 of them.
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said 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 movement.
The government also removed more than 130,000 civil servants from their jobs on alleged Gülen links following the coup attempt.
In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.