Twenty-one teachers have been detained across four provinces in an operation targeting alleged followers of the faith-based Gülen movement.
Police teams from the Adana Police Department conducted simultaneous raids on residences belonging to teachers in Adana, Gaziantep, Ankara and Denizli provinces on Wednesday morning. Five of the detained teachers were women.
When the detainees were being taken to a hospital for medical examinations, one of the female teachers told reporters not to take her picture saying, “I have students.”
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 120,000 people have been purged from state bodies, in excess of 80,000 detained and more than 36,000 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.