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Turkish Raids Target Muslim Cleric’s Contacts

  • VOA News

FILE - Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, in 2013.

FILE - Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania, in 2013.

Turkish officials say police have arrested dozens of people in a series of raids targeting businessmen and others believed to be linked to a Muslim cleric accused of trying to topple the government.

Authorities said the operation launched Friday was focused on the central city of Konya. Warrants were issued for 66 people, including police officials, Reuters news agency reported.

The suspects are accused links to U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has implicated Gulen, his former ally in the AK Party, of trying to take down his country’s government. Erdogan blamed Gulen for orchestrating a corruption scandal in 2013 that implicated government ministers.

It led to the firings or transfers of thousands of police officers, judges and prosecutors – as well as the dismissal of court cases in which they were involved, weakening confidence in Turkey’s justice system.

Gulen has rejected the charges.

Friday’s raids were conducted in Konya and at least 10 provinces, according to the Konya governor’s office.

Reuters contributed some information for this report.

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