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Turkish police arrest 44 Gulen supporters across country

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkish special police forces wait in front of a school serving as a polling station in Diyarbakir, November 1, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

Turkey has reportedly arrested dozens of people, including senior officials and police officers, in an operation targeting supporters of the US-based Turkish opposition cleric Muhammed Fethullah Gulen across the country.

Turkey’s Anadolu Agency said Tuesday that some 44 people were detained during police raids in 18 provinces.

The suspects linked to Gulen, whom the government in Ankara regards as an opponent of the president, are accused of acting “beyond their legal authority,” the Anadolu report said.

The raids come two days after Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won a resounding victory in Sunday elections.

Erdogan has accused Gulen and his followers of plotting to overthrow his ruling party, a charge the cleric denies.

US-based Turkish opposition figure Muhammed Fethullah Gulen is seen at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Reuters)


The government has cracked down on Gulen’s supporters since 2013, when prosecutors launched corruption probes into people close to Erdogan.

Gulen reportedly has many followers in some arms of Turkey’s state apparatus, such as the judiciary, police and secret services.

The cleric, who left for the United States in 1999, is set to be tried in absentia on January 6.

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