Turkish police detain 18 in 'parallel state' operation

Turkish police detain 18 in 'parallel state' operation

ISTANBUL - Reuters
Turkish police detain 18 in parallel state operation

AA Photo

Turkish police detained 18 people including senior police officers on Dec. 8, in an investigation of alleged supporters within the police force of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ally-turned-foe, Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, state-run Anadolu Agency said. 

It said arrest warrants were issued for 27 police officers in an operation across 13 provinces and focused on Istanbul. The private Doğan News Agency said the operation focused on former officers, including police chiefs. 

Operations targeting the purported illegal organization that Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government describe as the "Fethullahist Terrorist Organization" have continued unabated since a parliamentary election won convincingly on Nov. 1 by the AKP. 

Last month dozens of people, including senior police officers and bureaucrats, were detained in an operation in the western city of İzmir over alleged links to FETÖ.

Gülen was formerly an ally of Erdoğan and believed to have wielded considerable influence in the judiciary and bureaucracy. 

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. 

The cleric 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 on allegations that he sought to topple Erdoğan. Gülen denies the allegation.