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More than 20 detained in İstanbul-based operation targeting Gülen movement

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More than 20 people reportedly detained as part of an İstanbul-based operation initiated by the government and targeting the Gülen movement — a grassroots initiative comprising people inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen – on Monday.

The detentions were carried out in three provinces as part of an investigation launched by İstanbul Anadolu Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, after police officers simultaneously raided 65 different addresses, including seven companies and a foundation building.

More than 20 people – including women — were detained 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.

The detainees were sent to İstanbul Police Department for questioning after undergoing medical check in Haseki Training and Research Hospital.

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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