Turkey issues detention warrants for 100 people over alleged Gülen links

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The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Tuesday ordered the detention of 100 public and private sector employees due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Kronos news website reported.

The investigation was launched into the alleged activities of civilian Gülen movement members within the Gendarmerie General Command who were reportedly identified by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the counterterrorism and cyber crime branches of the police department.

The people sought in the Ankara investigation include public servants who were fired from their jobs by emergency decree-laws following a 2016 coup attempt as well as those who are still in public office and private sector employees.

Police are searching for the suspects across 41 Turkish provinces.

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 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.

According to a statement from Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on February 20, 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.

The Turkish 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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