More than 20,000 arrested over Gülen links: Turkish PM

More than 20,000 arrested over Gülen links: Turkish PM

More than 20,000 arrested over Gülen links: Turkish PM

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More than 40,000 people have been detained and nearly 20,000 have been arrested since the failed July 15 coup attempt, believed to have been masterminded by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), Prime Minister Binalı Yıldırım has said. 

“The total number of detentions, which include police officers, soldiers, judicial personnel, local authorities and civilians, has reached 40,029. Some 5,187 are still in custody and a total of 20,355 were arrested,” Yıldırım told state-run news broadcaster TRT Haber late on Aug. 17, adding that nearly 80,000 civil servants had been suspended over FETÖ links. 

“A total of 79,900 civil servants were suspended and 5,014 were dismissed,” he added. 

Saying the difference between being suspended and dismissed should be clarified, Yıldırım noted that the suspended personnel are being investigated. 

“The process of dismissing the suspended personnel with links to this terrorist organization will continue. The ones who are innocent will remain in their posts,” he added. 

During his interview, Yıldırım said a total of 4,262 institutions were shut down, seized or transferred to public institutions, adding that the number included hospitals, schools, dormitories, foundations, associations, universities, news agencies, TV channels, radio stations, newspapers, publishing houses, distribution channels and unions.

“Precautions were taken as part of the state of emergency declared after FETÖ’s coup attempt in order to bust this terrorist organization. FETÖ’s health and education institutions, associations and foundations were confiscated in this regard,” he also said. Yıldırım also talked about the three-month state of emergency, saying that it was needed in order to prevent another coup attempt or uprising from taking place in the future. 

“We are talking about a structure that has grown for 40 years. We are talking about an organization that’s not transparent. For that reason we need to take precautions. That will take time. The efforts we’ve made were to get rid of the reasons that brought about this coup. We’ve been telling the citizens all along that as the government, we didn’t declare the state of emergency for them, but we did it for ourselves,” he said. 
In the interview, Yıldırım stressed that “necessary precautions” were taken in order to prevent another armed takeover attempt, as he vowed to continue the “cleansing campaign” of FETÖ members in the public sector.

Noting that a total of 10,000 special operations soldiers would be recruited, Yıldırım added that the terms of recruitment were “apparent.” 

“He has to resist harsh conditions and has to have love for his country,” he said.