Forty-one teachers have been detained in Turkey’s central Anatolian province of Konya in an operation targeting alleged followers of the faith-based Gülen movement.
Detention warrants were issued for 54 teachers who were accused of using ByLock mobile application, which the prosecutors claim a primary communication tool among sympathizers of the movement. While Konya police raided some residences to take 41 teachers into custody, search for the remaining 13 is still continuing.
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, whose views inspired the movement, 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 105,000 people have been sacked from state bodies, in excess of 75,000 detained and more than 35,000 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.