Turkish authorities ordered the detention of 120 people in 22 provinces in a new wave of government-backed police operations targeting members of the Gülen movement.
According to the Turkish media, 68 of 120 people which includes civil servants, teachers, businessman and civil society representatives, have already been detained in simultaneous operations carried out across 22 provinces.
The operation reportedly targeted the “parallel state,” a term coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in December 2013 to refer to people believed to be inspired by the ideas of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, especially those within the state bureaucracy.
Since a corruption investigation that implicated figures close to the government, as well as government members themselves, came to public attention on Dec. 17, 2013, there have been many similar police operations carried out targeting shopkeepers, teachers, members of the judiciary, journalists and police officers who are accused of being affiliated with the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement. The graft probe implicated then-Prime Minister Erdoğan, members of his family and senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures.
Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government and said sympathizers of the movement within the police department had fabricated the graft scandal. Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity during the course of the investigation. Erdoğan said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement.
The Gülen movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it.