Turkey detains 36 people on alleged Gülen links

Police in western Turkey have detained 36 people, including several dozen small business owners, on accusations of links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group accused by the Turkish government of “terrorist activities,” the TR724 news website reported on Tuesday.

Detention warrants were issued for a total of 45 people by İzmir prosecutors as part of an investigation into an alleged network affiliated with the movement.

The police seized more than $35,000 and 25,000 euros in cash and other valuables gold during house raids conducted as part of the operation.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, inspired by Turkish Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the 2013 corruption investigations, 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.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

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