Turkey detains 47 people on alleged Gülen links

Turkish police on Thursday detained 47 people for alleged links to the Gülen movement, a faith-based group accused by the government of “terrorist activities.”

Carried out across 14 provinces as part of an investigation conducted by Antalya prosecutors, the detentions were announced on social media by Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya.

Yerlikaya said the detainees were targeted as part of the fight against “terrorism financing” for establishing channels of communication with people imprisoned on Gülen links and providing them with financial aid.

On Friday the Kronos news website reported that one of the places raided by the police was a tailor shop where the owner is accused of raising funds to help pay for students’ expenses.

Of the detainees, 12 were arrested after appearing before a court, while one was put under house arrest.

Seven were released under judicial control by the court, and six were released after questioning by the police, the reports said.

Turkish 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.

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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