Turkey Arrests More Than 1,000 In Massive Purge Of Its Police Forces

Police officers escort detainees in Kayseri, Turkey, on Wednesday. Turkish authorities say the countrywide raids were aimed at people with suspected links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Olcay Duzgun/AP

Turkish authorities have launched a massive detention operation, arresting more than 1,000 people nationwide on Wednesday. The Turkish government says the arrests are aimed at supporters of the U.S-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for last year’s failed coup attempt.

And these arrests are by no means the end of the operation. Anadolu Agency, a state-run news service, says the government aims to arrest another 2,000 people. Germany’s Deutsche Welle newspaper reports roughly 8,500 police officers undertook raids in all 81 provinces in Turkey.

Amnesty International: One Third of All Imprisoned Journalists Are in Turkey

FILE – Journalists Can Dundar, right, and Erdem Gul, Ankara bureau chief of Cumhuriyet newspaper, speak before the start of their trial, hours before the attack on Can Dundar outside city’s main courthouse in Istanbul, May 6, 2016.

By Kasim Cindemir

Amnesty International has called on the Turkish government to stop its crackdown on the media and release imprisoned journalists in the country.

“Turkey now jails more journalists than any other country. One third of all imprisoned journalists in the world are being held in Turkish prisons,” said a statement by the human rights advocacy group.

“This crackdown must end. Journalists must be allowed to do their jobs, because journalism is not a crime,” the statement added.

In the wake of last year’s failed coup attempt, the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has responded with a rigorous crackdown on those who were deemed involved. In the process, tens of thousands of teachers and civil servants were fired.

Besides many military officers, journalists and activists have also been imprisoned.

The Turkish government has been defensive of its actions, but many in the international community accuse it of using the military coup attempt as a tool to target opponents and suppress human rights in the country.

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