This past Friday morning, Turkish authorities issued a series of arrest warrants against a total of over 200 military personnel, with the operation carried out by Istanbul police. The suspects are believed to be linked to the group led by Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is now considered an enemy. Gulen has been blamed for the failed coup in 2016, a charge that has been denied by him and other members of the group, who claim to be promoting “peaceful goals of promoting Islam and secular education”.
In response, Ankara has been carrying out a major purge on members of the Gulen movement, resulting in the arrest of over 50,000 people and the dismissal of almost 130,000 public sector workers. Even last week, fresh detainees were taken in for suspected ties to coup plotters and the government has insisted that its actions are necessary in order to weed out the “virus” of infiltration from the organization.
It remains to be seen how the latest raids will pan out and the outcome of this situation, but it’s clear to say that Turkey is taking a hard stance against any suspects in relation to the Gulen movement. The repercussions of this have made waves, with the government’s methods of cleansing its institutions raising the eyebrows of human rights activists, as well as its Western allies. In the meantime, many of those affected by the raids will be anxiously waiting for their fate