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21 face detention in southern Turkey for financially helping inmates from leftist terror groups

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A prosecutor’s office in southern Turkey has issued detention warrants for 21 people on grounds that they provided financial support to people who are jailed over alleged links to leftist terror groups, the sendika.org news website reported.

The Antalya Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued the warrants for 21 people, some of whom were detained on Wednesday morning.

It is legal in Turkey for the relatives of inmates to send them money through the prosecutor’s office to help pay for expenses they may incur; however, the detention or prosecution of people simply for transferring money to inmates or helping their relatives on the outside has become frequent in Turkey.

It was mostly people affiliated with the faith-based Gülen movement who would face detention or prosecution for providing financial support to inmates jailed over alleged links to the movement, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the Turkish government and accused of masterminding a failed coup in the country in July 2016, or their families. The movement denies both allegations.

Yektan Türkyılmaz, a visiting faculty member at the Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Vienna’s Central European University, tweeted that Turkish judicial authorities are now targeting people other than Gülen followers who send money to people in prison or their families.

“They developed this tyranny on Gülenists. Now it’s the turn of the leftists, tomorrow, of course, other politicians… If you watch the lawlessness, it will come and find you! 21 people face detention on charges of “financing jailed individuals from left-wing armed terrorist organizations,” he said.

In the latest operation targeting people for helping the families of Gülen-linked inmates, 47 people were detained in an İzmir-based operation earlier this week that was also conducted in İstanbul, Ankara, Samsun and Muğla provinces. Among them, 30 were subsequently arrested.

According to Turkish media reports, they were accused of providing financial support to the families of people who were expelled from public service via decree-laws, who were in prison due to alleged links to the Gülen movement or who were just released.

Following the coup attempt, 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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