Turkey orders detention of 79 former school employees over Gülen links

Turkey orders detention of 79 former school employees over Gülen links

ANKARA
Turkey orders detention of 79 former school employees over Gülen links

The Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office on Sept. 13 issued detention warrants for 79 people who previously worked at private schools and private teaching institutions closed with state of emergency decrees. Some 30 people have been detained in line with the warrant so far. 

The suspects are accused of using the Bylock smartphone app, an encrypted messaging application said to have been used by members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), widely believed to have orchestrated last year’s failed coup attempt. 

Separately, police on Sept. 13 detained nine women in the northern province of Tokat for alleged links to FETÖ, upon an investigation initiated by the province public prosecutor’s office, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

The women, including former lawyers and judges previously dismissed over alleged Gülen links, were taken to the police station to give their testimonies. 

Additionally, a Turkish couple suspected of having links to FETÖ were also arrested on Sept. 13 after previously being caught trying to flee to Greece.        

The couple was detained on Sept. 11 in the northwestern province of Edirne, bordering Greece. They had initially claimed that they were Syrian refugees, but soldiers later found their marriage license nearby.        
Afif Demirtaş, 36, a former technician at Dicle University in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, and his wife Habibe, 33, a former police officer, both appeared at court in Edirne. 

The couple’s children, who are one and six years old, have been handed over to family friends.        

Meanwhile, Prof. Dr. İştar Gözaydın Savaşır, who is currently on trial over alleged Gülen links, will not be able to get a human rights award due to be grant by the king of Norway on Nov. 13, due to a travel ban. 

Savaşır was arrested on Dec. 27, 2016 on accusations of being a member of FETÖ. She was, however, released with an Istanbul court order on March 30, but along with a ban on her traveling abroad. 

She appeared at court for the first time on Sept. 12 and demanded that her travel ban be lifted, citing the award ceremony in Norway. Istanbul’s 27th Heavy Penal Court, however, denied Savaşır’s request.