Forty-eight people were detained in police operations targeting Turkey’s biggest petrochemicals company, PETKİM, and the Small and Medium Industry Development Organization (KOSGEB) on Tuesday as part of an ongoing witch-hunt against alleged followers of the faith-based Gülen movement.
Police raided the lodgings of PETKİM in the Aliağa district of İzmir on Monday morning. Thirteen people were detained in the İzmir-based operation, as a part of which simultaneous raids were also carried out in İstanbul, Denizli and Kütahya provinces.
The detainees are accused of membership in a terrorist organization and providing financial support to a terrorist organization.
The other police operations, based in Ankara, targeted KOSGEB employees across 13 provinces. Thirty-five KOSGEB staff members including provincial KOSGEB directors were detained on charges of membership in a terrorist organization.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has been labeling the Gülen movement, inspired by the ideas of US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, as a terrorist organization despite the lack of a court ruling that proves any terrorist activity on the part of the movement.
The AKP, which launched a war against the Gülen movement following the eruption of a corruption scandal in late 2013 in which senior government members were implicated, carried its ongoing crackdown on the movement and its sympathizers to a new level after a failed coup attempt on July 15 that killed 240 people and injured a thousand others.
Although the movement strongly denies having any role in the corruption probe or coup attempt, the government accuses it of having masterminded both despite the lack of any tangible evidence.
Gülen called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but Erdoğan — calling the putsch “a gift from God” — and the government launched a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.