Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 213 people in separate investigations based in Ankara and İzmir on allegations of links to the Gülen movement, the Kronos news website reported on Tuesday.
The faith-based Gülen movement is accused by the Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, 2016 and is labeled a “terrorist organization,” although the movement denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
In İzmir detention warrants were issued for 112 people, 76 of whom have been detained so far, on allegations that they were members of the Gülen movement within the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK).
The warrants issued by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office for the suspects including 15 active duty and 32 retired military officers and 65 cadets who were dismissed in the wake of the coup attempt were reportedly based on “data comparison” among the Defense Ministry, the İzmir regional office of the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the Land, Air and Naval Forces commands.
The evidence against the suspects reportedly includes payphone links and informant testimony.
The detainees include six colonels, one major, eight first lieutenants and one second lieutenant.
The so-called “payphone investigations” are based on call records. The prosecutors assume that a member of the Gülen movement used the same payphone to call all his contacts consecutively. Based on that assumption, when an alleged member of the movement is found in call records, it is assumed that other numbers called right before or after that call also belong to people with Gülen links. Receiving calls from a payphone periodically is also considered a red flag.
In the investigation launched by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in 41 provinces, detention warrants were issued for 101 people, 53 of whom have been detained so far.
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.
A total of 319,587 people were detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Monday.
In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown. Many have tried to exit Turkey illegally since the government has revoked thousands of passports.