Court releases prominent businessman Dumankaya arrested in witch-hunt operation

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Renowned businessman Halit Dumankaya — an executive board member of Dumankaya Holdin — who was arrested along with eight others as part of an operation targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, were released and placed under judicial supervision around 1.30 a.m. on Saturday.

Nine people — including Dumankaya – were arrested by the İstanbul 3rd Penal Court of Peace on April 22, 2016, on the charges that include being a member of a terrorist organization, providing financial support to a terrorist organization and making propaganda of it.

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 that declares the movement as a terrorist group either.

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