Turkey’s president on Tuesday hit back of critics of the detention of people linked to the 2013 Gezi park protests.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that 13 people recently detained have links to "the person who is in the position of financing the Gezi park protesters, and also is in prison right now."
On Nov. 17, the 13 people were detained on suspicion of financing the Gezi Park protests. Three of them were later released.
Erdogan said that there are people in both Turkey and abroad who funded the protests, which the government has called a coup attempt.
Some circles in the Western world have criticized the detentions, he added.
In summer 2013, relatively small demonstrations in Istanbul’s Gezi Park grew into a nationwide wave of protests against the government that left eight protesters and a police officer dead.
The government later said the demonstrations were an attempt to overthrow it by members of Fetullah Gulen’s “parallel state” in the police and court system.
Turkey accuses the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) – led by U.S. based Fetullah Gulen – of a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
On July 15, a FETO coup attempt in Turkey left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.