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Police Raid 'Gülenist Cells' in 19 Provinces

Turkish police raided multiple locations on May 22 in at least 19 provinces, while carrying out a “parallel structure” investigation, detaining as many as 20 people, including several businessmen and a former police chief. Raids have mostly been centered in Konya, a central Anatolian province.

Turkish police raided multiple locations on May 22 in at least 19 provinces, while carrying out a “parallel structure” investigation, detaining as many as 20 people, including several businessmen and a former police chief. Raids have mostly been centered in Konya, a central Anatolian province.

The raids, as part of the “parallel structure” investigation headed by the Konya Chief Public Prosecution, 20 people have been detained over charges of involvement in the alleged “Fethullahist Terror Organization.”

Among the detainees were several businessmen and Ercan Taştekin, a former police chief who served in both Konya and the eastern province of Bingöl. 

“I have been detained possibly for speaking out and telling the truth. Okay. No problem,” tweeted Ercan Taştekin early May 22 about his detention.

Anadolu Atayün, a former manager in Konya Police Department’s Branch for Trafficking and Organized Crimes who was dismissed from his job when he served the chief inspector of the Turkish National Police Department, was also reported as detained.

The number of detainees is expected to increase, as the Konya Governorate has said detention warrants have been issued for 66 more people.

On May 22, the Konya Governorate said via a statement that, over charges of membership in the Fethullahist Terror Organization and violating the secrecy of the investigation, privacy and communication, the Konya Police Department raided the Okyanus Group on May 11.

Several businessmen from the Active Businessmen and Industrialists Association along with local police officers in Konya were among the detained.

The first wave of raids began on May 11 when a lawyer, M.O., was arrested in the Konya Airport on charges of involvement in the alleged Fethullahist Terror Organization. His secretary, identified as F.N.P., who brought his guns and ammunitions to his office before the police raid, was also detained.

The conflict between erstwhile allies Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Fethullah Gülen, who the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government says is the leader of the “parallel structure,” began late 2013 after a massive corruption and graft investigation led by Istanbul prosecutors against four ministers went public in December of the same year. The AKP government has long said the operation was a plot carried out by prosecutors and police officers loyal to Gülen, a 73-year-old Islamic scholar who has been living in self-imposed exile in the United States, purportedly aiming to topple the then-Prime Minister Erdoğan and his government. 

The Gülenists, who have been accused of forming a parallel structure, have also been charged with wiretapping hundreds of thousands of people through operations carried out by members employed in the judiciary and the police.

Since the probe broke, thousands of prosecutors and police officers, including the top brass, have been removed from their previous positions, with pro-government prosecutors now probing the activities of the parallel state.

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