39 women face detention over Gülen links due to secret witness statements

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Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 39 women including a teacher and three midwives due to their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, Turkish media outlets reported.

Thirty-two of the women were detained on Wednesday following raids across five provinces as part of the investigation conducted by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in western Turkey.

The detention warrants targeting the women were issued based on the allegations of a secret witness, named “garson” (waiter). The women are accused of organizing activities among female members of the Gülen movement.

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.

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 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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