102 former officers, private sector employees face detention over alleged Gülen links

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Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 64 former military officers and 38 private sector employees over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Kronos news website reported.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

The detention warrants have been issued by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office based on lists prepared by the country’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) detailing alleged Gülen movement followers in the public and private sectors.

Raids were being conducted across 43 provinces on Tuesday to detain the suspects. The 64 former officers are among the thousands of others who were purged from the military following the coup attempt in a massive crackdown on the alleged and real followers 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.

Following the failed putsch, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

A total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Nov. 22.

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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