22 detained in ‘anti-parallel’ operation in western Turkey

22 detained in ‘anti-parallel’ operation in western Turkey

IZMIR – Doğan News Agency
22 detained in ‘anti-parallel’ operation in western Turkey

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At least 22 suspects have been detained in the Aegean province of İzmir in a police operation against purported members of what President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government have called the “Pro-Fetullahist Terrorist Organization.”

Twenty-two suspects, including five teachers along with their attorneys and a large number of shopkeepers, were detained for allegedly funding the purported organization in a pre-dawn operation launched by the İzmir Police Department Counterterrorism Unit on July 24.

The operation was ordered to be launched by Okan Bato, a public prosecutor who deals with terrorism charges, in four İzmir districts, Konak, Buca, Karabağlar and Gaziemir, said İbrahim Çankaya, an attorney from a teachers union, at a press briefing outside the İzmir Police Department building on July 24.

“This is a bias operation. Detentions were held in spite of the lack of sufficient evidence,” he said.

Ayşe B., the wife of one of the detained teachers identified by the initials M.B., said her husband had been a public employee for 33 years and that he had done no harm to anyone thus far.

“My husband has had no links to any kind of illegal organizations,” she said. M.B. was a teacher who has been working at the Buca İmam Hatip School, one of the religious schools to train government-employed imams in Turkey. 

The move came a day after a chief police officer said the purported “Pro-Fetullahist Terrorist Organization,” which has been alleged to consist of the followers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and to have formed a “parallel structure” within the state, committed violent acts in Turkey’s east and southeast, with its members working as insiders in the police and other state organizations.

“Several parties which benefit from bloodshed but endorse a rhetoric of peace and solidarity have betrayed our country hand-in-hand with a [terrorist] organization, with its members managing to work at state organizations as insiders,” Şanlıurfa Police Department Head Eyüp Pınarbaşı said on July 23, during the funeral ceremony of two police officers who were shot dead in an apartment in the border town of Ceylanpınar on July 22.

Pınarbaşı, by his most recent remarks, also implied cooperation between the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the purported “Pro-Fetullah Terror Organization” amid rising tension near and on the Turkish-Syrian border.