Tens of thousands under confidential investigation over Gülen links

Turkish authorities are investigating a total of 152,399 people as suspects with links to Gülen movement, nationalist opposition daily Sözcü reported on Sunday.

Turkey maintains that the Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States, and his followers are behind the failed coup attempt in July 2016. Tens of thousands of civil servants have been expelled and/or arrested over links to the group since the failed putsch.

Ankara maintains the Gülen movement was behind a long-running scheme to overthrow Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by infiltrating Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

New names will emerge as confessors' testimonies, ByLock and payphone investigations continue, Sözcü said.

Turkish authorities believed an encrypted communication app called ByLock was used almost exclusively by the members of the Gülen movement. In the purge that followed the coup, many were detained purely because they were found to have the app on their phones. 

152,399 are under confidential investigation for alleged links to Gülen movement and the total number of people who are either on trial or investigated amounts to 221,966, according to Sözcü.

Meanwhile, 29,202 have been behind the bars over the links to Gülen movement as of Sept. 13, 2019, the daily said. 6,502 are jailed pending trial while 22,700 are convicted.