12 arrested, 39 detained in gov’t witch hunt against Gülen movement across Turkey

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Nine people were arrested and 39 more were detained as part of government-led operations targeting Gülen movement — a grassroots initiative comprising people inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen – across Turkey on Saturday and Sunday.

Nineteen people were detained as part of Balıkesir-based operation also conducted in Bursa, İstanbul and İzmir on Sunday. Detentions were carried out by police officers from Anti Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau of Balıkesir Police Department on orders of the province’s chief public prosecutor’s office.

Police detained 17 more people as part of Karaman-based operation also carried out in Ankara and Konya provinces on Sunday. Detention warrants were issued for 33 people, including doctors, lawyers, teachers and businessmen, by Karaman Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Detainees were sent to Karaman Police Department for questioning after undergoing medical check in Karaman State Hospital. Police are still looking for 16 more people as part of the same operation.

Three more people on Saturday were detained in Siirt-based operation also carried out in five other provinces on orders of Siirt Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Seven people were arrested as part of a Niğde-based operation conducted also in 3 more provinces. Two out of 5 people, who were detained in Diyarbakır on May 25, were also arrested on Saturday.

Three people were also arrested as part of the same investigation carried out in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak.

The arrests and detentions were carried out on suspicion of providing financial support to 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.

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 Gülen movement, which is 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 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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