Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on Wednesday night that more than 500,000 people have been detained while 30,000 others were sent to jail over alleged links to the Gülen movement.
Soylu’s remarks came during an interview on the 24 TV station.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Soylu was responding to a question about main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s claim that ordinary and poor people were being sent to jail due to Gülen links.
“More than 500,000 detentions were made, and there are 30,000 in jail [due to Gülen links]. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu lacks the capacity to understand the severity of this [fight against the movement].
Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs in addition to others facing legal action.