Turkish police on Friday detained 41 gendarmerie officers who had previously been suspended or expelled over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup in 2016.
The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 66 former members of the gendarmerie that included one lieutenant colonel, one major, four captains, 19 lieutenants, 17 noncommissioned officers and 22 military cadets.
Forty-one of those facing warrants were detained in police raids across 25 provinces as part of the operation.
Following the coup attempt the Turkish government removed more than 130,000 civil servants, including thousands of military officers, from their jobs due to alleged Gülen links.
Since the coup attempt, followers of the Gülen movement have been subjected to a massive crackdown, with the Turkish government and pro-government media outlets demonizing its members.
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.