Turkey arrests dozens of Erdogan critics allegedly connected to opposition figure | News | DW | 22.05.2015
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Turkey arrests dozens of Erdogan critics allegedly connected to opposition figure

Turkish police have arrested 20 people in an operation targeting President Tayyip Erdogan's rivals. The governor's office of Konya has said they are part of a "terror organization."

Turkish police arrested 20 people Friday for suspected "membership in the pro-Fethullah terror organization," a reference to Fethullah Gulen, a former Erdogan ally turned exiled opposition cleric.

The police operation targeted more than 65 people in 19 provinces, including businessmen and former police officers, the governor's office for the province of Konya said Friday. The detainees included a provincial police chief, the Dogan news agency reported.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Polls show Erdogan's AKP party is expected to lose its majority in parliament at the June elections

"I am detained. Probably because we spoke and told the truth. It's not a problem," a message from a Twitter account affiliated with a former police chief of Bingol province, Ercan Tastekin, said, according to Reuters news agency.

Those targeted by the operation are said to be supporters of the US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, once an ally of Erdogan and the AKP, Turkey's ruling party.

Erdogan has accused Gulen's supporters of creating a "parallel structure" aiming to undermine his rule.

Arrests over scandal

The government has also accused Gulen of orchestrating the scandal in 2013 which led to the resignation of three ministers. However, Gulen has rejected the claims.

Friday's raids come three months after 40 people were arrested in connection to the wiretapping scandal, which brought to light corruption among senior Turkish officials.

Journalists and police have also been targeted by raids for allegedly spying on politicians and having links to Gulen.

ls/msh (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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