57 active-duty officers among 125 detained over alleged Gülen links

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Turkish police on Monday detained 125 people including 57 active-duty officers due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in July 2016.

The detentions across 47 provinces took place as part of an operation based in the western province of İzmir. The İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for a total of 229 people over alleged links to the Gülen movement. One hundred four of the suspects could not be found.

Twenty-nine of the detainees were former officers, while 143 were former military cadets who were expelled from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in the aftermath of the coup attempt.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by 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 the 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 Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said in February 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.

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