News & Politics

Turkey Continues Its Witch Hunt Against Gülen Followers

U. S. Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip in Ankara, Turkey, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016. (Kayhan Ozer, Presidential Press Service Pool via AP)

The purges continue unabated in Turkey. On Friday, 218 individuals were arrested on charges of being members of a terrorist organization. Another 421 were detained.

These arrests and detentions took place more than 6 weeks after the Turkish military staged a failed coup. In the meantime, not only the military officers responsible for the coup have been arrested, but the same goes for many others: people who had absolutely nothing to do with the coup, but who are simply accused of sympathizing with Fethullah Gülen, the Islamic scholar Turkey says masterminded the coup.

Photos of the individuals arrested and detained. Source: Turkish Minute.

Photos of the individuals arrested and detained. Source: Turkish Minute.

In what’s becoming a repetitive story, a host of journalists, lawyers, teachers and civil servants were among those arrested by the authorities.

All in all, more than 41,000 people have been detained in recent weeks, and more than 22,000 individuals were arrested. According to the latest reports, a sum total of 130,000 people have lost their jobs.

To make matters even worse, a Turkish court also seized all assets belonging to Gülen and 64 others yesterday. The prosecutor’s office and the court used Turkey’s draconian terror laws to do so. The charges against the 65 individuals who saw their property seized by the government include “leadership and membership in a terrorist organization,” “providing financial support to a terrorist organization” and “disseminating propaganda for a terrorist organization.”

And that’s not all: the court also ordered that all revenue from the sale of Gülen’s books would, from now on, flow into the state’s treasury.

In other words, the Turkish government is set to be mightily enriched by Gülen’s work and that of his accused sympathizers.

The Turkish government also announced on Friday that an additional 76 military court judges and prosecutors had been dismissed over their alleged ties to the Gülen movement. Because Erdogan announced emergency rule immediately after the failed coup, the authorities don’t need actual proof against any of these individuals. A “suspicion” is enough.