01/18/2017, 09.41
TURKEY
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Turkish judiciary issues 243 arrest warrants for members of military

The military are stationed in 54 provinces of the country. The measure part of the tens of thousands of arrests following the attempted coup of July. The suspects allegedly used an encrypted messaging system also used by Islamic preacher Gülen. Uzbek arrested for New Year massacre in Istanbul confesses.

 

Istanbul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Turkish judiciary has issued an arrest warrant against 243 members of the army, stationed in 54 provinces of the country. According to reports from the local press agency Anatolie, it is part of the investigation into the failed July coup, which has already led to the detention of tens of thousands of people.

From the sketchy information provided by investigators, the suspects allegedly used the encrypted Bylock messaging system; it is the same application used in the past by Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, Turkish security forces most wanted man and suspected "mastermind" behind the attempted coup.

Analysts and experts point out that the arrest warrants are the latest sign of an increasingly suffocating attempt by the Turkish government to exercise total control over the country. In the aftermath of the coup last July, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish government have launched a campaign of repression against the (alleged) perpetrators.

Gülen, an iron time ally of Erdogan, and now in exile in the United States, is the prime suspect. So far, the Turkish authorities have arrested more than 37 thousand people, including teachers, soldiers, intellectuals, opposition politicians, businessmen, journalists, activists and ordinary citizens.

About 100 thousand public sector officials have been suspended or laid. In total, 103,850 persons are undergoing criminal proceedings.

The government repression has struck the most important pro-Kurdish opposition party (the Democratic Party of peoples, HDP), with particular ferocity, arresting its leaders. Recently President Erdogan - who initiated the parliamentary procedure for the introduction of the presidential system, with a further strengthening of his powers - has extended the state of emergency, following the New Year nightclub massacre in Istanbul.

On January 16, the Turkish security forces arrested the main suspect in the attack, Abdulkadir Masharipov an Uzbek immigrant affiliated to the jihadi militias of the Islamic State (IS). Following the arrest, the authorities led him into the Vatan Street Security Division and, as is normal, subjected him to medical checks.

According to Istanbul Governor Vasip Sahin, during Masharipov interrogation he confessed to the Reina attack, which killed 39 people and injured another 65.  The attack was claimed by the IS  and linked to Turkey’s military involvement in Syria. The man was trained in Afghanistan and is described as educated and able to speak four languages.

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