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Turkey orders detention of 75 people over alleged Gülen links in a week

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Turkish prosecutors have, over the past week, ordered the detention of 75 people due to alleged links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group accused by the government of “terrorist” activities, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing local media reports.

The İstanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office on Wednesday issued detention warrants for 21 individuals for alleged Gülen links. Twenty of the suspects were detained in police operations in the province.

An additional nine detention warrants were issued in Antalya and Karabük provinces during the week.

As part of an investigation launched by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants were issued on Tuesday for 10 active duty and six former military officers and 14 former military cadets. Turkish police conducted operations in 12 provinces across Turkey.

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 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

On Monday the public prosecutor’s office in Ankara issued detention warrants for 15 former police cadets over alleged Gülen links. Police conducted operations in eight provinces.

Following the abortive putsch, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 24,706 members of the armed forces, 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.

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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