02/18/2020, 13.51
TURKEY
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Some 700 arrest warrants issued in a new crackdown against Gülen supporters

Prosecutors have ordered the arrest of 766 people, including soldiers and Justice Ministry employees. More than a hundred arrests have already been carried out, 71 in Ankara alone. A million people were investigated between 2016 and 2018, says a former Member of Parliament for the ruling party.

 

Istanbul (AsiaNews) – Turkish prosecutors today ordered the arrest of 766 people, including soldiers and Justice Ministry employees.

Media close to the government are reporting that the arrests are part of renewed crackdown against the pro-Fethullah Gülen network, accused of masterminding the failed 2016 coup.

The operation represents an escalation against the supporters of the Islamic preacher, a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, now deemed Turkey’s number one enemy.

About 101 serving officers are among a group of 157 people for whom arrest warrants have been already issued.

So far, about 100 of the more than 700 people wanted by the authorities have been detained, the Demiroren news agency reported. The others should follow over the coming days.

In the capital Ankara, 71 people were to be detained in the investigation centred on Gülen supporters in the justice Ministry.

Ever since the coup that almost toppled Erdoğan in mid-July 2016 and killed about 250 people, Turkish authorities have been on a witch hunt.

Tens of thousands of alleged enemies – intellectuals, activists, prominent Turks at home and abroad, members of the military, judges, teachers, intellectuals, ordinary people – have been targeted.

All these people have ostensibly one thing in common: They are purported to be members, real or imaginary, of a network led by the Islamic preacher living in exile in Pennsylvania (US).

According to Erdoğan, Gülen's supporters tried to set up a "state within the state" by infiltrating key state institutions like the police and the judiciary.

Since the coup, 80,000 people have been jailed, and are waiting to go to trial. About 150,000 public employees (both military and civilian) have been fired.

Between 2016 and 2018, 1,056,000 people have faced terror charges, tweeted Mustafa Yeneroğlu, a lawyer and an independent Member of Parliament who resigned from the AKP in late 2019.

In his view, “declaring opponents as terrorists is simply an act of hostile aggression”, and the government’s witch hunt is unwarranted.

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