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18,128 people in Turkey detained over Gülen links in last 8 months

The Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Monday that 153 people were detained last week as part of investigations into the faith-based Gülen movement, bringing the total number of people detained in the first eight months of the year to 18,128. A total of 17,085 people had been detained over alleged links to the movement by the end of July 2018. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government pursued a crackdown on the movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which the inner circle of the government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated. Erdoğan also accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a coup attempt in July 2016. Despite the movement strongly denying involvement in the failed coup, Erdoğan launched a witch-hunt targeting the group following the abortive putsch. The Turkish government on July 8 issued a decree-law firing 18,632 civil servants due to their alleged ties to “terrorist groups” and closing 12 associations, three newspapers and one TV station. According to the TurkeyPurge.com website, with the latest decree the total number of people dismissed after the 2016 coup attempt now exceeds 170,000. The European Commission said in a report on April 17 that since the introduction of a state of emergency on July 20, 2016, over 150,000 people were taken into custody and 78,000 were arrested. Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 12, 2017 said 234,419 passports had been revoked as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since a failed coup. On Nov. 16, 2017 Soylu had said eight holdings and 1,020 companies were seized as part of operations against the movement.

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