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Octogenarian among detainees in gov’t witch hunt targeting Gülen movement

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Octogenarian identified by initials A.B. was among the six people detained as part of a government-initiated and Gümüşhane-based operation targeting Gülen movement, a grassroots initiative comprising people inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

Six people were detained in a total of ten provinces including Gümüşhane, while detention warrants were issued for 13 more people as part of the same investigation.

Detainees – including 86-year-old retired teacher A.B. – were sent to Gümüşhane Police Department for questioning after undergoing medical check.

The detentions were carried out on suspicion of being a member of 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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