At least five people – four teachers and a principal – were detained as part of a government witch hunt targeting the Gülen movement, a grassroots initiative comprising people inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, in the province of Kırklareli on Friday.
Police officers from the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau of Kırklareli Police Department detained a private school principal identified by initials M.Ş. and four teachers — İ.İ, F.Y, K.C. and V.T. – working in the same school.
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 erupted on Dec. 17, 2013 and led to the resignation of four Cabinet ministers, 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.