Former AKP deputy arrested in ‘parallel state’ operation
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
CİHAN photoA former Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputy and two other defendants were arrested late Dec. 14 as part of operations targeting the alleged “parallel state” of sympathizers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
An Ankara criminal court of peace ordered the arrest of former AKP İzmir deputy İlhan İşbilen late Dec. 14, along with the other two defendants, Kazım Avcı and Dilaver Azim. One of the defendants, Ali Çelik, was released under probation.
Three defendants were dispatched to court with a request for their arrest on Dec. 14.
Counter-terrorism police conducted simultaneous operations in 10 provinces across the country on early Dec. 11 targeting the major figures of the alleged “Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ)/Parallel State Structure (PDY)” led by Gülen, the AKP’s ally-turned-nemesis. Five were detained as part of the operations while one of the suspects was later released.
A former lawyer for Gülen, Abdülkadir Aksoy, also reportedly surrendered to police.
Meanwhile, police detained 10 suspects in an Adana-based operation against the “parallel state” in four provinces at 17 addresses.
Gülen was formerly an ally of Erdoğan and was believed to have wielded considerable influence in the judiciary and the civil service.
Erdoğan turned against the cleric and his followers, accusing them of constituting a “parallel state” after police and prosecutors seen as sympathetic to Gülen opened a corruption investigation into Erdoğan’s inner circle in 2013.
Gülen has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999 and is the subject of arrest warrants in Turkey. A prosecutor is seeking a prison sentence of up to 34 years for Gülen on allegations that he sought to topple Erdoğan. Gülen denies the allegation.