İzmir, Nov 3 () - At least 44 people, including a number of high-ranking officials and security personnel, have been detained in 18 Turkish provinces in an anti-terror operation in the Aegean province of İzmir against the followers of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, a former ally of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The police raided multiple locations and detained at least 44 people early on Nov. 3, on charges of “keeping militarily confidential information and documents” and “committing out-of-duty actions,” the state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The 44 people, including former İzmir Police Chief Ali Bilkay, former deputy chiefs Mehmet Ali Şevik and Ramazan Karakaya, former deputy governors, three governors currently not on duty identified only by the initials A.K., M.O. and S.A., were detained in the operation against the purported illegal organization, which Erdoğan and the government describe as the “Fetullahist Terrorist Organization,” daily Hürriyet reported.
According to the Hürriyet report, detention warrants were issued for a total of 57 people, including Gülen.
Gülen has long been accused by Erdoğan and Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials of forming a “parallel structure” in the police and other state organizations aiming to topple the government.