Turkish police on Saturday detained eight people following raids in İstanbul due to their alleged links to the Gülen movement, the Kısa Dalga news website reported.
The detentions took place as part of an investigation conducted by the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which issued warrants for nine people as part of the probe. Police found seven of the nine and detained another person who wasn’t wanted on a warrant and are searching for the remaining two who are currently at large.
The detainees were reportedly in hiding to avoid detention.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.
Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following an abortive putsch in 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 24,706 members of the armed forces, were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.