103 detained in gov’t-led operations against Gülen movement across Turkey

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Police officers detained 103 people as part of an İzmir and Manisa based operation carried out in four other provinces early on Tuesday, in a government-led move targeting the Gülen movement.

The detentions were carried out around 6 a.m. as part of an operation conducted on the orders of İzmir and Manisa Chief Public Prosecutor’s Offices in Denizli, Isparta, İzmir, Manisa, Muğla and Uşak  provinces.

Mehmet Mezher Gülen, nephew of the Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, is reportedly among the 30 people detained in İzmir, after nearly 500 police officers raided and searched 80 addresses in the province. The detainees were then sent to Counterterrorism Unit of the İzmir Police Department for questioning.

While 20 people were detained in Manisa, 30 more – including businessmen, tradesmen and teachers – were simultaneously detained in Eşme and Banaz districts of Uşak.

Police officers from the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau of Muğla Police Department detained 13 people in Muğla and Denizli, while 10 more were detained in the southwestern province of Isparta.

The detentions were reportedly carried out against the “parallel state” or “parallel structure,” which are terms coined by then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in December 2013 to refer to people believed to be inspired by the teachings of the Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, especially those within the state bureaucracy.

Since a corruption investigation 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 movement, which is also known as the Hizmet movement, a grassroots initiative comprising people inspired by Gülen. 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 that 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 in the course of the corruption 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.

 

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