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Police detain 19 in 9 provinces as part of ongoing gov’t crackdown

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Police detained 19 people, including teachers and policemen, in nine provinces on early Tuesday morning as part of an operation launched by a Manisa prosecutor in what is considered to be the latest move in a wave of government crackdown on the sympathizers of the Gülen movement.

The synchronized police raids based in Manisa covered the provinces of Aydın, Erzurum, Ankara, Balıkesir, Denizli, Malatya, Van and Amasya. It was reported that all the detainees will be transferred to Manisa to be referred to a court.

Since a corruption investigation erupted on Dec. 17, 2013 and led to the resignation of four Cabinet ministers, there have been many similar police operations carried out targeting shopkeepers, teachers, members of the judiciary, journalists and police officers who are accused of being affiliated with the Gülen movement, which is also known as the Hizmet movement. The graft probe implicated then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, members of his family and senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures.

President Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of plotting to overthrow his government and said that sympathizers of the movement within the police department had fabricated the graft scandal. Since then, hundreds of police officers have been detained and some arrested for alleged illegal activity in the course of the corruption investigation. Erdoğan said he would carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement. The Gülen movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it.

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