Erdogan accuses Gulen movement of 'coup attempt'

32 officers with alleged links to the Gulen movement who were detained in August have been indicted for illegally spying on a number of prominent businessmen for years.

Erdogan accuses Gulen movement of 'coup attempt'

World Bulletin / News Desk

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday accused the Hizmet Movement, which is led by US-based Turkish congregation leader Fethullah Gulen, of attempting to perform a coup on the government last December.

Two police operations orchestrated by prosecutors and officers believed to be loyal to Gulen targeted government affiliates on December 17 and December 25 in alleged corruption and bribery scandals.

The scandal was one of the biggest challenges to President Erdogan's leadership as Prime Minister at the time, forcing him to reshuffle his cabinet of ministers and conduct a purge on the police force and judiciary to route out members of what he called a 'parallel state.'

"We see that certain circles, including businessmen, have been ignoring or even supporting the 'parallel structure' - a name attributed to the Gulen Movement in Turkey. The overall aim of those coup attempts is to revive the old Turkey, when whoever wanted to topple a government could do it in one day and then form a new one," said Erdogan, referring to four previous coups in Turkey's short history as a republic.

The 'parallel state' is also accused of carrying out illegal wiretapping of hundreds of thousands of Turkish citizens, including businessmen, journalists, politicians, activists and celebrities.

32 officers with alleged links to the Gulen movement who were detained in August have been indicted for illegally spying on a number of prominent businessmen for years, depicting them as members of a terrorist organization, Daily Sabah reported.

The suspects, who are expected to stand trial in the coming days, are charged with "forming, leading and being member of an illegal organization," "violating private life," "slander," "misusing duty," "faking documents" and "archiving documents for blackmail usage."

'PARALLEL STATE'

Turkey's new president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has led a purge on the police force since operations on December 17 targeting his allies raised the alarms of corruption and bribery within his AK Party-led government.

A separate operation which saw Turkish security forces raid a truck owned by the Turkish intelligence agency MIT while on its way to Syria in Turkey's Adana also increased accusations against the Hizmet Movement.

In April, a top secret meeting between then Foreign Minister now Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, MIT chief Hakan Fidan and the army's second-in-demand was leaked on to the internet, prompting a temporary ban on video-sharing website Youtube.

Another scandal was exposed when it was revealed that hundreds of thousands of Turkish citizens had had their telephones tapped illegally.

The scandal was taken to new lengths when listening devices were found hidden in plugs in the Prime Minister's office.

Erdogan requested Gulen's deportation from the US to Turkey to face questioning regarding allegations of his role in leading a spy ring which has not only infiltrated the police force, but also the judiciary and the government itself.

Fethullah Gulen went into self-imposed exile in 1999 in the US, fleeing Turkey with a forged green passport only designated to citizens with diplomat status. The government cancelled Gulen's passport earlier this year.

A former ally of the ruling AK Party, Gulen's movement and the government fell at odds originally over the sending of the Mavi Marmara aid flotilla to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza in 2010.

In 2012, the gap between the two widened when prosecutors known to be loyal to the movement attemped to put MIT chief Hakan Fidan on trial.

In late 2013, Erdogan announced plans to close down prep schools if they cannot transform themselves into private schools. The movement, which gains a bulk of its income from these schools, claimed that they would not be able to make the transformation in time.

Last Mod: 19 Eylül 2014, 15:01
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