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Former, current diplomats, military officers among 27 facing detention over Gülen links

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Turkish prosecutors have issued detention warrants for 27 people including former and current diplomats and military officers as well as former military cadets due to their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the Kronos news website reported.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a 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.

The former diplomats and military officers were fired from their jobs in a mass crackdown following the coup attempt.

The detention warrants were issued by the Ankara and İzmir chief public prosecutor’s offices and police raids were conducted across several provinces on Tuesday to detain the suspects. In İzmir, 13 of 16 suspects including 12 former military cadets were detained.

In Ankara, six former and active duty officers and four former and current diplomats are facing detention in addition to one person who failed the foreign ministry entrance exam.

The diplomats and the other person are accused of staying in apartments in Ankara in 2015 run by the Gülen movement where applicants prepare for the foreign ministry entrance examination.

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 29,444 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.

According to a statement from Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ in July, 117,208 people have been convicted, with 1,366 sentenced to life in prison and 1,634 to aggravated life with no chance of parole following the coup attempt. While 87,519 people have been acquitted of charges specifically related to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to Bozdağ, there are doubts about the number of people who have been acquitted of all charges by a court of law.

Judicial experts voice skepticism about the figures announced by the minister, saying that 117,208 convictions are only those that have been upheld by an appeals court, since Justice Ministry data show that more than 265,000 people were sentenced on charges of terrorist organization membership between 2016 and 2020 due to their alleged Gülen links.

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