Turkey launches over 2 million terror probes after 2016 coup attempt - official data

Turkey launches over 2 million terror probes after 2016 coup attempt - official data
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Lawyer Levent Maziliguney said these figures have no juristic or logical explanation

Turkey has launched more than two million terrorism investigations following the failed coup of July 2016, Turkish lawyer Levent Maziliguney said.

Releasing official data on his Twitter account regarding the investigations launched by Turkish prosecutors under the Turkish Penal Code’s (TCK) article no 314, Maziliguney said probes have totalled to 1,768,530 between 2016 and 2021 period.

“When we include the investigations launched this year, the figure will exceed two million,” Maziliguney said.

“These figures have no juristic or logical explanation,” he said.

Commenting on the Justice Ministry data, Nurullah Albayrak, a lawyer and deputy chairman of the Brussels-based rights organization Solidarity with OTHERS said the figure translates to many times more individuals.

“There are 10 people in some investigations, 100 in some. Even if we think there are two people in every investigation, this makes around 5 million people,” Turkish Minute news website cited Albayrak as saying.

“Can there be anything more frightening than this for a country?” he asked.

Turkey has a population of 83.15 million according to 2019 data.

Following the coup attempt that Turkey says the Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States has orchestrated it, Turkish government launched a crackdown on the group’s followers, detaining hundreds of thousands and imprisoning around 30,000 people, citing their alleged links to the Gulen Movement which Turkey designated as a terrorist organization.

The number of investigations on terrorism-related charges stood at 55,058 in 2014 and 36,425 in 2015, the data released by Maziliguney showed. However by 2016, the numbers have significantly increased. In 2016, the year of the failed coup that Turkey blamed on Islamist Gulen Movement, 155,014 investigations were launched. In 2017, the number of terror probes rose to a record high of 457,423. The figures stood at 444,342 in 2018, 310,954 in 2019, 208,833 in 2020 and 191,964 in 2021.

“Some rights organizations in Europe are shocked when they hear of so many people being investigated in Turkey on terrorism-related charges and ask whether there could be a mistake in the statistics,” Nurullah Albayrak said.

Since 2015, when the “peace process” with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has collapsed, Turkey under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has also intensified a crackdown on Kurdish groups, mainly on the country’s second largest opposition HDP, in which thousands of its members have been tried and hundreds are imprisoned on terrorism charges, including its former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag.

Kurdish activists and journalists also frequently find themselves under investigation related to terrorism charges over the Kurdish issue.