Police in Turkey have detained 35 people, including senior bureaucrats and police officers, local media reported. It’s part of a probe targeting supporters of President Erdogan’s arch-enemy, cleric Fethullah Gulen.
Turkish police raided several addresses across the western coastal city of Izmir on Tuesday, the private Dogan news agency reported.
The raids were part of an operation against the “parallel structure” which is a term used to refer to supporters of Fethullah Gulen within the Turkish state apparatus. Gulen, a Muslim cleric now based in the US, was once a political ally of Erdogan, but the two fell out in 2013 after police and prosecutors seen as sympathetic to Gulen opened an investigation into government corruption, including among Erdogan’s inner circle. Erdogan accused Gulen of trying to topple him and since then there has been a crackdown against Gulen’s followers.
It has included Turkish authorities taking over the management of companies linked to Gulen, including newspapers and television stations, plus attempts to shut down schools linked to his movement.
Return to power
Tuesday’s operation came days after Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) was swept back into power in snap elections which saw them win almost half the vote. The party regained the majority it had lost in elections held in June.
While Erdogan, who founded the AK party, described the result as a vote for stability, critics have expressed fears it would lead to growing authoritarianism in a country which has already seen media freedoms curtailed.
A strengthened AKP government is expected to act more quickly to purge those loyal to Gulen, who is due to go on trial in absentia in January.
se/kms (AFP, Reuters)