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44 referred to court for arrest as part of probe targeting Gülen movement

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Forty-four people who were among at least 100 people detained on Monday across nine provinces in Turkey as part of Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) ongoing crackdown on the faith-based Gülen movement, have been referred to court for arrest.

The detainees who were sent to court for arrest after they were interrogated by prosecutors on Thursday include Dumankaya Holding chairman Uğur Dumankaya, the holding’ s executive board members Semih Serhat Dumankaya, Ayla Dumankaya Pirinççi and Halit Dumankaya.

Out of the 44 people who were referred to court on Wednesday, four of them were arrested, 22 of them were released on probation while 18 others were released.

Media reports said on Monday that businessmen as well as employees of Islamic lender Bank Asya including a woman who is in the seventh month of her pregnancy, were among at least 100 people detained as part of witch-hunt operations targeting the Gülen movement.

The investigation is overseen by the İstanbul Anatolia Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The operation reportedly targets the so-called the “Fethullahist Terrorist Organization/Parallel State Structure (FETÖ/PDY),” which is used by the government-backed judiciary to frame sympathizers of the Gülen movement, a grassroots social initiative inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

“Parallel state” is a term coined by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in December 2013 to refer to people believed to be inspired by the ideas of 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. There is not a court decision which declares the movement as a terrorist group either.

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