Police detain 23 as part of ongoing gov’t crackdown in Turkey

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Twenty-three people, including soldiers, teachers and police officers, were detained as part of government-initiated operation targeting the Gülen movement, a grassroots initiative comprising of people inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, across Turkey.

Nine people were detained in Batman-based operation also carried out in Kars and Siirt provinces, while 14 more – including 6 women — were detained in Ankara capital.

Police officers in Ankara are looking for two more suspects as part of the same operation.

The detentions were carried out mainly on suspicion of being a member of and providing financial support to 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, a grassroots initiative comprising of people inspired by Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. 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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