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Nine newly graduated lawyers detained over Gülen links in İstanbul-based operation

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Nine lawyers who recently graduated from law school have been detained in an İstanbul-based operation targeting alleged followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group accused by the government of “terrorist” activities, the Kronos news website reported.

The young lawyers were detained in raids across seven provinces on allegations that they communicated with members of the Gülen movement through a special phone line.

The lawyers are also accused of preparing for exams together in apartments run by the Gülen movement, which is considered evidence by Turkish judicial authorities for membership in the Gülen movement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government launched a crackdown the Gülen movement following corruption investigations in late 2013 that implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan’s close circle.

The crackdown increased after an attempted coup in Turkey on July 15, 2016 because Erdoğan and his AKP government accused the movement of masterminding the abortive putsch and initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

According to a statement from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on July 5, 2022, a total of 332,884 have been detained, while around 101,000 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup. The minister said there were 19,252 people in Turkey’s prisons at the time who were jailed on alleged links to the movement, while 24,000 others were at large.

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