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Anadolu news agency backtracks on alleged Gülen-ISIL connection

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Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency on Thursday had to suddenly reverse course on a report it had previously posted alleging that books connected to the faith-based Gülen movement were discovered during police searches at locations of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) suspects in İstanbul after the agency realized that the confiscated books were actually seeking to discredit the Gülen movement.

Announcing the news from its Twitter account, Anadolu said in an operation in which 16 ISIL suspects were detained, books were seized relating to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), a term the government coined to refer to the Gülen movement despite lack of any evidence of terrorist activity on the part of the movement.

The agency also posted a photo of the books and other items found in the houses of the ISIL suspects.

The book related to the movement was titled “Fethullah Gülen’in Aynası” (Fethullah Gülen’s Mirror) and penned by Mustafa Aşık.

Editors at the agency apparently realized that Aşık’s book was actually targeting the Gülen movement and seeking to defame its activities. The editors then deleted the tweet they posted earlier and posted a new tweet with a different headline without any reference to the Gülen movement.

Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen is the inspiration for the Gülen movement, a civil society initiative promoting worldwide interfaith dialogue, peace and tolerance with thousands of educational institutions around the world.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, 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 of others.

Although the movement strongly denies having any role in the corruption probe and the coup attempt, the government accuses it of having masterminded both despite the lack of any tangible evidence.

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