TEHRAN, May 24, YJC - Turkish authorities have ordered the detention of 139 staffers from local councils and two ministries in Ankara, accusing them of links to the Turkish president’s archfoe.
TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -
Ankara accuses Fetullah Gulen, a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, based in the US for decades, of masterminding a July 2016 military coup against the government, which fell short of its objective.
The detention warrants were issued on Wednesday. The would-be detainees include 60 staff at the Ankara City Council, 19 at district councils, 30 staff at the Development Ministry, and 30 at the Education Ministry, broadcaster CNN Turk said.
State-run Anadolu news agency said the municipality staff, some of whom had previously been dismissed from their jobs, were found to have used ByLock, an encrypted messaging app, which the government says is used by Gulen’s followers.
Around 50,000 people have been placed in detention and more than 100,000 public sector employees summarily dismissed since the failed putsch.
On Monday, Turkey opened the trials of 221 suspected organizers of the coup attempt.
The prime suspects are alleged members of the so-called Peace at Home Council, a group on whose behalf a coup declaration was read on state television on July 15 last year. Other defendants include Gulen, who is being tried in absentia.
The coup and the circumstances surrounding it, including its suppression within hours, have led to many speculations, with some observers saying the attempt was a choreographed one aimed at boosting Erdogan’s image, Presstv reported.
The head of state has been harping on patriotic themes ever since, as well as trying to consolidate his hold on power by proposing a presidential system for the country rather than its current parliamentary one.
The proposal was narrowly approved in an April referendum. It will enable the president to hire and fire at will, besides giving him other sweeping powers.