Twenty-six teachers have been arrested in Turkey’s Malatya province as part of an investigation into the followers of the Gülen movement.
The teachers were earlier accused of using ByLock mobile application, which the prosecutors claim a primary communication tool among sympathizers of the movement.
Police carried out operations and detained 34 teachers in 8 provinces very recently. While the two were freed after their testimonies to the prosecutor and 6 were released pending trial, 26 were arrested.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.
Despite Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and the movement having denied the accusation, Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
About 120,000 people have been sacked from state bodies, in excess of 80,000 detained and more than 40,000 have been arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. Critics argue that lists of Gülen sympathizers were drawn up prior to the coup attempt.