Turkish Police Arrest 33 People linked to Fethullah Gülen's

Ankara believes religious man Gülen is the mastermind of the 2016 coup
The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the centre, accompanied by the Minister of Defence of Turkey, Hulusi Akar, attend a ceremony at the military academy in Ankara on Thursday, January 24

PHOTO/AP  -   The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the centre, accompanied by the Minister of Defence of Turkey, Hulusi Akar, attend a ceremony at the military academy in Ankara on Thursday, January 24

Turkey is stepping up the repression against the opposition. The Turkish police have arrested 33 people on Thursday morning on the accusation of having links with the group of clergymen of Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara accuses of being the mastermind of the alleged coup d'état in the summer of 2016. The Istanbul prosecutor's office issued an arrest warrant against these individuals for belonging to Gülen's and assuming positions of responsibility, according to the Turkish opposition newspaper Cumhuriyet.   

Turkish security forces launched simultaneous security operations to arrest the suspects and some were detained. Arrest warrants have been issued for more than 300 people, including soldiers, lawyers and teachers. Erdogan and his party, Justice and Development, claim that cleric Fethullah Gülen is accused of masterminding the alleged coup attempt, which he has strongly denied. The Turkish opposition claims that the events of the night of July 15 were an "orchestrated coup" to liquidate opponents of soldiers and members of civil society organizations. These events resulted in the death of 248 people, besides 24 of the coup participants.   

The Turkish authorities have regularly launched campaigns of arrests affecting thousands since the attempted coup, under the pretext of contacting Gülen group, as well as detaching most of their jobs in the army, universities and other state jobs, according to presidential decrees issued directly by Erdogan during the emergency period of two years. To date, the investigation report on the attempted coup by Parliament that ended in 2017 has not yet been published. These arrests add to those carried out this summer against 42 students at the military academy and 54 naval officers, accused of being members of Fethullah Gülen's. The 54 naval officers are said to have passed the acceptance tests with the help of Gülen's movement, according to the website of the Turkish opposition newspaper Sozjo, quoted by Al-Ain News.  

The prosecution said at the time that the defendants gained fraudulent access to the Naval Academy through the leaking of an examination by members of the opposition movement, which allegedly benefited 54 suspects out of 62 who took the evidence. However, the Prosecutor's Office did not present any incriminating evidence of these events. The investigation claimed that 62 students received high marks from committee members. In addition, 42 additional students from the military academy were dismissed as part of the coup investigation. Following the attempted coup d'état on July 15, 2016, thousands of cadets were dismissed and 259 members have been sentenced to life imprisonment for their participation in the coup attempt.