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5 arrested as part of gov’t-led operations targeting Gülen movement

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Five people were arrested as part of government-led operations targeting Gülen movement — a grassroots initiative comprising people inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen – across Turkey on Tuesday.

Two out of 19 people, who were detained as part of an operation targeting Gülen movement in Edirne, were arrested on charge of “membership in a terrorist organization” on Tuesday.

Ten out of 19 detainees were released after testifying before a prosecutor. The remaining 7 people were sent to court for arrest. However, the court released 5 of them and placed them under judicial supervision.

Three more people were arrested in Gaziantep as part of a similar investigation carried out in the province on Tuesday.

The arrests were carried out on suspicion of membership in 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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