Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 140 people including former police academy students, military cadets and foreign ministry personnel over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Bold Medya news website reported on Tuesday.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Twenty-eight former police academy students out of 31 facing detention were detained in raids across four provinces as part of an İstanbul-based operation, according to Bold Medya.
In the western province of Balıkesir, prosecutors issued detention warrants for 31 people including four former military cadets. Some of the suspects have been detained in raids across 14 provinces.
In the capital city of Ankara, prosecutors issued detention warrants for 78 gendarmerie personnel based on reports from the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and Security Directorate General, showing them having links to the Gülen movement. The gendarmerie officers facing detention are accused of secretly communicating via pay phone, a method that Turkish prosecutors believe is a means of communicating with the Gülen movement.
As part of another investigation in Ankara, prosecutors issued detention warrants for 25 former personnel of the foreign ministry on accusations that they leaked the questions of three ministry exams in 2009, paving the way for more Gülen-linked candidates to be recruited by the ministry.
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 the abortive putsch that he accused Gülen of masterminding.
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 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.
A total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Nov. 22.
In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.