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Iran Press TV

Turkey detains 28 over alleged links to exiled cleric Gulen

Iran Press TV

Sat Jun 25, 2016 1:16PM

Turkey has reportedly arrested more than two dozen people for allegedly funding the movement of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen whom the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan regards as an opponent.

Turkey's Dogan news agency said on Saturday that some 28 people were detained during police raids across the country as part of a probe into their alleged links to Gulen, a cleric based in the United States.

It said that the investigation included the head of the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON), adding that the police were searching for 23 other people in Istanbul and southern provinces of Konya, Kayseri and Mugla.

Erdogan accuses Gulen of running a "parallel state" aimed at usurping him, while the judiciary has officially called the cleric the leader of Fethullahaci Terror Organization/Parallel State Structure (FeTO/PDY), which seeks to overthrow the legitimate Turkish authorities.

Gulen was once regarded as a major ally for Erdogan, but relations broke in 2013 when police and prosecutors seen as close to Gulen opened a corruption probe into the inner circle of Erdogan, who was then the prime minister.

Numerous police operations have been carried out since the summer of 2014 to round up allies of Gulen with thousands, including police officers, prosecutors and judges, sacked or reassigned over links to Gulen.

Additionally, several media outlets with ties to Gulen have been seized or shut down.

The opposition figure has been based in the United States since 1999, when he fled charges against him laid by the former secular authorities. Ankara's request for the cleric's extradition has been met with cold response from Washington.

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