Armed with automatic rifles, Turkish authorities raid Gülen-linked schools

An armed police officer stands in guard outside of a prep school in Aksaray. (Photo: Haberdar)
An armed police officer stands in guard outside of a prep school in Aksaray. (Photo: Haberdar)

Date posted: August 4, 2015

Inspectors from six different state bodies have raided several schools and educational facilities linked to the Gülen movement as part of a witch-hunt against the group that has been raging since twin corruption investigations targeting the country’s president and his inner circle.

In central Turkish town of Aksaray, dozens of inspectors, coupled with at least 300 police officers from smuggling and organized crime units, raided schools and prep schools on Tuesday. The raids are part of a nationwide crackdown on institutions and individuals somehow linked to the Gülen movement. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the Gülen movement of orchestrating the graft investigation against him and his inner circle. Gülen movement denies the charges. Since the allegations were surfaced nearly two years ago, the authorities have only escalated raiding, shutting down or defaming institutions or individuals close to the movement.

On Tuesday, the new target was schools operated by Private Sema Educational Institutions and prep schools of Sabah. Inspectors from Finance Ministry, Firefighting Department, Social Security Institution, Environment and Urban Affairs Ministry, Tax Department and Agriculture Provincial Directorate raided the schools.

The educational facilities have been the subject of repeated raids in the past two years. This time, the institutions’ lawyer Sebahattin Batur said, they “stormed” the schools. He said the schools are always open to inspections and the school officials have been helpful to the inspectors. The Tuesday’s raids, however, are part of a campaign to defame the schools, put pressure on employees and discourage parents to enrol their children just weeks before the school registration period, the lawyer said.

Following the raids, the police detained five suspects and issued an arrest warrant for another on charges of “financially supporting the organization,” referring to the Gülen movement. The suspects are accused of providing financial support to students in need and paying their tuition.

Source: Today's Zaman , August 04, 2015

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