The German Foreign Ministry has announced that Turkish police detained two German nationals at Antalya airport over alleged links to the Gülen group, which the Turkish government accuses of masterminding a coup attempt in 2016.
The suspects were identified as K.A. and S.A., and reportedly hold German passports only.
According to Deutsche Welle’s Christoph Strack, Turkish authorities are currently holding 55 Germans. At least four of them have dual citizenship.
Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government along with President Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen group.
Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the group, repeatedly denied having any role in the failed coup, but Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.
Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.
Since the investigations into the coup attempt started more than a year ago, there have only been a handful of convictions, while the vast majority of prisoners are still awaiting trial. Such large number of people in Turkish prisons raised concerns that whether the Turkish government systematically punishes its opponents by long periods of pre-trial detention.