Seventeen people were detained on Thursday in an İzmir based operation targeting the members of Gülen movement — a grassroots initiative comprising people inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
The operation was conducted by counter-terrorism units of İzmir Police Department simultaneously in İzmir, Manisa, Trabzon and Uşak provinces.
The detentions were allegedly 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.