Turkish crackdown leads to more than one thousand arrests

World Today

Police officers escort people, arrested because of suspected links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, in Kayseri, Turkey, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. Police launched simultaneous operations across the country on Wednesday, detaining hundreds of people with suspected links to U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gulen. The suspects are allegedly Gulen operatives who directed followers within the police force. (Olay Duzgun/DHA-Depo Photos via AP)

Another crackdown by the Turkish government, over a thousand people detained on Wednesday during a nationwide operation by police forces.

Officials said the suspects are believed to have connections with the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen.

They also announced the suspension of more than nine thousand police officers connected to Gulen.

CGTN’s Michal Bardavid reports.

Turkish crackdown leads to more than one thousand arrests

Another crackdown by the Turkish government, over a thousand people detained on Wednesday during a nationwide operation by police forces. Officials said the suspects are believed to have connections with the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. They also announced the suspension of more than nine thousand police officers connected to Gulen. CGTN’s Michal Bardavid reports.

Over the last eight months, Turkish police have been carrying out nationwide operations aiming to detain and arrest anyone in connection with the Fethullah Gulen organization known as FETO. The Turkish government blames Gulen for orchestrating the failed coup attempt last July. Authorities said the operation is ongoing as thousands more are expected to be arrested.

Turkey’s Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu called these suspects “covert imams,” Gulen supporters who have managed to infiltrate many sections of the government including its’ police force and judicial structures.

“So far, 1,009 secret imams were detained in 72 provinces. This is an important step for the Turkish Republic. On the one hand, Turkey is dealing with migrants, terror and all of the country’s problems and on the other hand it is dealing with some other problems that are brought to us because of our geographical position.” said Suleyman Soylu the Turkish Interior Minister.

The latest arrests come just 10 days after the April 16 referendum approving the expansion of President Tayyip Erdogan’s powers. There were signals that this was coming, before the referendum Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim had announced officials had reached significant findings on FETO that would lead to an operation.

The operations are likely to result in more criticism from the EU. On Tuesday, the Council of Europe’s parliamentary assembly had already put Turkey on review due to human rights concerns, a move angering Turkey. The Turkish Foreign Ministry said they would be reviewing ties.