Security services in Turkmenistan are taking dozens of alleged followers of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen into custody, according to their family and friends.
“They take people, keep them for 30 or 40 days, and torture them until they give somebody’s name. Until you [name] somebody, they won’t let you go,” said Azizov Nepes*, a Turkmen graduate student outside of the country who personally knows several of those detained.
The Turkish government, an important partner for Turkmenistan, accuses Gülen, the leader of a global Islamic movement with deep roots in Central Asia, of masterminding the failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15. Ankara is engaging in an ongoing purge of alleged Gülen followers at home, and has pressured countries hosting many of Gülen’s followers to crack down on the movement.
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Nick Ashdown is a freelance journalist in Istanbul, Turkey.