Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania September 24, 2013.
Reuters/Selahattin Sevi/Zaman Daily via Cihan News Agency
ANKARATurkish police searched offices of a business association close to President Tayyip Erdogan’s ally-turned-foe Fethullah Gulen on Friday, media reports said, sustaining a crackdown on the Muslim cleric’s supporters after Sunday’s election.
The search of the TUSKON business confederation and related groups in Ankara was carried out on the order of the Ankara state prosecutor’s office, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
On Sunday, the AK Party that Erdogan founded secured a return to single-party rule in an election result he portrayed as a vote for stability but which opponents fear heralds growing authoritarianism.
Police detained dozens of people including senior police officers and bureaucrats on Tuesday, alleging they were members of a “Gulenist terror group” which sought a purge of the army by engineering a 2012 espionage trial.
Gulen’s organization, which has followers across society, including the police and judiciary, helped Erdogan in the first years after his AK Party was elected in 2002; but the two fell out after police and prosecutors seen as sympathetic to the cleric opened a corruption investigation into Erdogan’s inner circle in 2013.
The cleric has lived in exile in the United States since 1999 and is the subject of an arrest warrant in Turkey on a charge that he sought to topple Erdogan, carrying a jail sentence of up to 34 years. Gulen denies the allegation.
Erdogan’s campaign against Gulen continued in the months leading up to Sunday’s election. On Oct. 27, Turkish authorities took over the management of companies including newspapers and TV stations linked to the cleric.
(Writing by Daren Butler, editing by Jonny Hogg)
What’s Next: Tomorrow’s Digital Life
Find out what’s in store for our digital-everything lives.