A total of 109 people, including policemen and businessmen, 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 Wendesday.
Eighty-eight people were detained as part of a Kocaeli-based operation that was also carried out in 6 more provinces across Turkey. Police officers simultaneously raided many addresses in the seven provinces on orders of the Kocaeli Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Police officers from the Anti Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau of Aydın Police Department detained 10 more people – including an official from the Aydın Directorate of Provincial Food Agriculture and Livestock — early on Wednesday.
Eight more people – including civil servants – were detained in Elazığ province by police officers from the Anti Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau of the province’s police department. According to a statement from the police department, detention warrants were issued for 3 more people as part of the same investigation.
Police detained 3 more people in Osmaniye province on the same day.
The detentions were carried out on suspicion of being affiliated with 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.
According to data by state-run Anadolu News Agency, a total of 4,011 people were detained in operations targeting the movement since 2014 and 822 of them were arrested.
Furthermore, a total of 675 people were detained in the first three months of 2016, 671 people in April and 865 people in May. 193 of the ones who were detained in May were arrested.