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Islamic preacher critical of Turkey’s AKP gov’t detained by police

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Turkish police on Monday detained Alparslan Kuytul, leader of the Furkan Foundation — an anti-government religious group — in connection to the abduction of a businessman in the southern province of Adana, Turkish media outlets reported.

Kuytul’s lawyer Bilal Sarısaçlı announced on Twitter that Kuytul had been detained based on a complaint from the abducted businessman, Koray Sarısaçlı, while criticizing his client’s detention early in the morning at his home, saying he would go to the prosecutor if he were summoned to testify.

“I have nothing to do with this abduction incident. Koray Sarısaçlı’s claims lack any concrete grounds. This incident could be a sham. I think some power centers plotted this incident,” Kuytul later told the prosecutor, according to a report on Halk TV.

An outspoken critic of the policies of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, Kuytul and members of his foundation are facing growing pressure from the government for strongly advocating that religion and politics should not mix and criticizing the AKP government for that.

Four members of the group were detained on Sept. 9, 2021 on charges of abducting Sarısaçlı in Adana and were allegedly subjected to torture and denigrating treatment at the police department for four days. They were released by a court in September, only to be detained the next day upon the objection of the prosecutor.

Sarısaçlı on Sept. 18 said he was not abducted by members of the group. However, two months later, he changed his testimony under pressure to increase the charges against the group’s members.

Two more members were arrested on Dec. 27 and another on Jan. 4 on the same charges.

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