Turkey detains 44 people on alleged Gülen links

Turkish police have detained 44 people across the country over their alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, the Stockholm Center for Freedom reported.

Operations were carried out in 28 provinces upon warrants issued by Ankara prosecutors for 46 public sector workers, the report said.

The detainees are accused of organizing the movement’s “infiltration” of the police.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the 2013 corruption investigations, 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 in 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.