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58 detained over alleged Gülen links in a week

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Fifty-eight people, including teachers, businessman, active duty and dismissed military officers and former cadets, have over the past week been detained on warrants issued by Turkish prosecutors for alleged links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group accused by the government of “terrorist” activities, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing local media.

As part of an investigation launched by the Erzurum Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, detention warrants were issued on Friday for people including teachers and active duty and former military officers. Turkish police conducted operations and detained 13 of the suspects.

The Balıkesir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants in two separate investigations for 17 suspects over alleged Gülen links. Police conducted operations in three provinces across Turkey, during which 13 of the suspects were detained.

Ten individuals were detained over alleged Gülen links in Edirne and Denizli provinces during the week.

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 an abortive putsch that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

On Tuesday 22 people, including former military cadets and former police academy students, were detained as part of an investigation launched by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. Police conducted operations in six provinces.

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 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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