200 documents seized in ‘anti-parallel’ operation in western Turkey

200 documents seized in ‘anti-parallel’ operation in western Turkey

200 documents seized in ‘anti-parallel’ operation in western Turkey

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About 200 document files and computers have been seized by İzmir police after a 21 hour-long search of an İzmir-based foundation and a private university and its linked hospital, as well as a Bursa-based company which was said to have business ties with the foundation, as part of an investigation launched over allegations of financially supporting the alleged “parallel structure.”

The İzmir Police Department Financial Crimes Unit on June 24 launched multiple searches into the Turkish Medical Foundation (TÜTAV), Şifa University and Şifa Hospital, both founded by TÜTAV, as part of an investigation started over claims of funding the alleged “parallel structure” and fabricating false documents, Anadolu Agency reported on June 25.

The Bursa Police with the company of tax auditors, meanwhile, conducted a search of a company which was said to have business ties with the foundation early June 24 in the northwestern province.

Eight executives from TÜTAV were summoned to testify. While their testimonies were not yet completed, one was said to be linked with the Bursa-based company. The police clarified the executives would be not detained, and were asked only to testify. 

The foundation’s chairman of the board was also among those who were summoned to testify, Doğan News Agency reported on June 24.

The foundation’s secretary general, Alaattin Alataş, said the foundation had no more links to the hospitals subjected to the investigation and that it functioned as a financial aid provider to students. One of the hospitals passed on to the family of a Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate in the past, while the police said they found no evidence the hospital which belonged to the AKP candidate’s family did official misconduct.

All the documents and items seized were classified and taken to the İzmir Police Department Financial Crimes Unit.

The conflict between erstwhile allies President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Fethullah Gülen, who the AKP has said 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 the same year. The AKP 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, as Gülen’s followers have come to be known, 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 top brass, have been removed from their previous positions, with pro-government prosecutors now probing the activities of the “parallel structure.”