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47 detained across Turkey for helping families of people jailed over alleged Gülen links

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Forty-seven people have been detained in an İzmir-based operation that was also conducted in İstanbul, Ankara, Samsun and Muğla provinces for helping the families of people jailed over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported, citing the Kronos news website.

As part of an investigation launched by the İzmir Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, police raided houses of 57 suspects and detained 47 of them, confiscating their savings, jewelry, mobile phones and computers.

According to Turkish media reports, they were accused of providing financial support to the families of people who were expelled from public service via decree-laws, who were in prison due to alleged links to the Gülen movement or who were just released.

A video of the operation posted online by the İzmir Police Department that shows dozens of police cars and officers taking part and raiding houses to the tune of a nationalist march in the background attracted widespread criticism from rights activists. They said the directorate was trying to manage public perception as if the targeted people were really terrorists.

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.

Following the coup attempt, 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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