ANKARA: Turkey’s state-run news agency says police have detained 101 people suspected of having financial links to United States-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of attempting to overthrow the government.
The Anadolu Agency said police had arrest warrants for of 140 people, including businessmen and former employees of the Gulen-linked Bank Asya, which was seized by the government last year. On Monday, 101 people were taken into custody in Istanbul and eight other cities.
The government has declared Gulen’s moderate Islamic movement a “terrorist” organisation and has clamped down his supporters, seizing newspapers, television stations and other businesses associated with the cleric.
Anadolu says those detained Monday are suspected of being members of a “terror group” and of providing funds and making propaganda for the Gulen movement.
Gulen was formerly an ally of Erdogan and believed to have wielded considerable influence in the judiciary and bureaucracy.
Erdogan turned against the cleric and his followers, accusing them of constituting a “parallel state”, after police and prosecutors seen as sympathetic to Gulen opened a corruption investigation into Erdogan’s inner circle in 2013.
The cleric has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999 and is the subject of arrest warrants in Turkey.