12 arrested, 71 detained in gov’t-led operations targeting Gülen movement

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Twelve people arrested and 71 more were detained as part of government-initiated operations targeting the Gülen movement — a grassroots initiative comprising people inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen — across Turkey, on Tuesday.

Ten people — Hüseyin Bezmez, Şenol Kaplan, Faruk Kırılmaz, Ali Yazgan, Kemal Han, Fehmi Sevindir, Recep Üren, Raşit Şenel, Recep Özcan and Hikmet Elçiçeği were arrested after 50 people were detained as part of an investigation carried out by Mersin Chief Public Proscutor’s Office.

While 10 out of 50 people – who were detained as part of a Mersin-based operation also carried out in 14 provinces – were arrested, the remaining 40 were released with 30 of them being placed under judicial supervision.

Two out of 9 people, who were detained as part of a Siirt-based operation conducted in 5 more provinces and ordered by the Siirt Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, were also arrested on Tuesday.

Detentions of 9 people were carried out by police officers from the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau of Siirt Police Department on May 28.

A total of 30 people were detained in an Ankara-based operation also conducted in 4 more provinces by police officers from the Financial Crimes Unit of the Ankara Police Department.

Fourteen more people were detained as part of an investigation carried out by Hatay Public Prosecutor’s Office. Police officers detained 14 people in Hatay, Gaziantep, Kırşehir, Kahramanmaraş and Antalya provinces early on Tuesday morning.

As part of an Erzurum-based operation also carried out in 4 more provinces, police officers from the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau of Erzurum Police Department detained 12 people, on the orders of Erzurum Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

Eight civil servants were also detained in Denizli province by police officers from Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau of Denizli Police Department.

Police officers detained 7 more people in Iğdır, as part of an investigation carried out by Iğdır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

The arrests and detentions were carried out on suspicion membership in and 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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