The Minister of the Interior assures that it is a network infiltrated in the police forces
Turkish authorities have arrested more than 1,000 people suspected of belonging to the movement of the imam Fetulá Gülen, political rival of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and accused of organizing last year’s coup attempt. Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu has said it is a «gulenist» network infiltrated by police forces and known as «secret magnets.» «So far, 1,009 secret imams have been arrested in 72 provinces, and the operation is still ongoing,» Soylu told reporters in Ankara. «It’s an important step for Turkey,» he added.
After the failed coup in July last year, the Erdogan government had launched a large purge with the arrest of 40,000 people and the dismissal or suspension of employment of another 120,000 soldiers, police, teachers and public officials, under The accusation of being linked with terrorist groups.
On April 16, Erdogan narrowly won the referendum called on to amend the constitution and extend presidential powers – which has been answered by the opposition and European observers – and extended the state of emergency for three more months In which the country lives since the coup attempt. The Turkish government has repeatedly called on the United States to extradite Gülen, who has been living in exile in the United States since 1999.
«In Turkey there was a coup attempt that aimed to overthrow the government and destroy the state,» Erdogan said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday. «We are trying to eradicate the members of FETO [the acronym that the Turkish Government gave to the» gulenistas «and that means organizations Terrorist Gulenista] in the armed forces, judicial and in the police, continued. The Turkish president came to compare the battle against Gülen with the war against the self-styled Islamic state and the militants of the Kurdish party PKK, considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.
Mass arrests following the coup attempt found support from many Turkish citizens, but criticism of the government began to increase as arrests spread. Many relatives of the detainees or dismissed from their jobs ensured that their relatives had nothing to do with the coup, and that they were being victimized by a purge designed to strengthen Erdogan’s control.