Dec 18 2017

Turkish religious group’s “matchmakers” detained in police sweep

A Turkish court has issued a warrant for 106 people accused of pairing off the members of a secretive religious movement that the Turkish government considers a terror group, Reuters said.

The suspects helped set up arranged marriages, sometimes using catalogues of prospective brides from the Gülen movement, made up of the followers of exile preacher Fethullah Gülen, which the Turkish government accuses of being behind the failed 2016 coup attempt.

Turkish authorities say the Gülen movement closely guided the personal and professional lives of some of its members, including their education, careers and marriages.

The suspects were identified by Turkish police and state intelligence officials in a joint operation using conversations traced on ByLock, an encrypted messaging application commonly used by Gülen’s supporters, the spokesman said.

More than 50,000 people, including security officials, military personnel and civil servants, have been detained in the aftermath of the coup.

The detentions have alarmed Turkey’s Western allies and rights groups, who say President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is using the coup as an excuse to silence the opposition.