The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has issued detention warrants for 98 people, including former and active duty military officers as well as academics, as part of three separate investigations on charges related to their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, local media reported on Tuesday.
The Gülen movement is accused by the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of masterminding a failed coup in 2016 and is labeled a “terrorist organization,” although the movement denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Detention warrants were issued for 59 people, including academics, accused of involvement in the leaking of questions in the Foreign Language Proficiency Examination For State Employees (KPDS), the Academic Personnel and Graduate Education Exam (ALES), the Foreign Language Knowledge Level Determination Exam (YDS) and the Interuniversity Foreign Language Exam (UDS) held between 2011 and 2013.
Regarding the basis of accusations of Gülen movement members’ having prior access to the questions of some state-administered exams, a report by the state-run Anadolu news agency only said that “some of the criteria put forward in the abnormality report on the exams fit” the suspects.
As part of another investigation into alleged Gülen movement members, detention warrants were issued for 22 people accused of involvement in the leaking of questions in a 2013 exam to become noncommissioned officers in the gendarmerie.
Within the scope of a third investigation launched by the prosecutor’s office into alleged Gülen movement members, detention warrants were issued for 17 people, including three active duty military officers as well as former officers, accused of secretly communicating via pay phone, a method Turkish prosecutors believe was a means of communicating with the Gülen movement to avoid detection.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of Dec. 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 Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu in November a total of 292,000 people 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 were 25,655 people in Turkey’s prisons who were jailed due to links to the Gülen movement.
In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.