Turkish police on Tuesday detained 28 people over their alleged financial support for schools founded by entrepreneurs inspired by Fethullah Gülen, a Muslim cleric accused by Ankara of masterminding a failed coup in 2016, the Kronos news website reported.
The İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants for 38 people over their alleged funding of schools in Gabon, a country on the west coast of Central Africa.
According to the prosecutor’s office, the detainees wired 51 million Turkish lira to the schools through NGOs shut down by the government over Gülen links.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) label the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Muslim cleric Gülen, as a terrorist organization and immediately blamed the group for the failed coup that took place on July 15, 2016. The movement strongly denies any involvement in the failed putsch.
As part of a massive government-led crackdown on the Gülen movement, Turkey has removed over 130,000 civil servants from their jobs and arrested or detained nearly 80,000 people in addition to prosecuting more than 511,000 over suspected links to the self-exiled preacher.
At its peak, the Gülen movement operated schools in 160 countries, from Afghanistan to the United States. Since the coup attempt, Turkey has pressured allies to shut down Gülen-run establishments.