Date posted: December 22, 2015
HASAN ÇİLİNGİR / TEKİN GÜRBULAK / IZMIR
Police raided the house of 96-year-old Mustafa Şık, a prominent philanthropist, in İzmir on Friday as part of a government-initiated “witch hunt” operation targeting the faith-based Gülen movement.
Today’s Zaman learned on Saturday that police raided Şık’s house with the intention of arresting him but upon seeing his poor medical condition, officers questioned Şık while he remained in bed. They later reported the incident to İzmir Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor Okan Bato, who is overseeing the case at the İzmir Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Thirty-seven people including businessmen, lawyers and a civil servant were detained on Friday after police officers conducted raids on 40 locations in İzmir, İstanbul, Antalya, Malatya, Eskişehir and Muğla based on an order from Bato. According to a report by the Cihan news agency on Friday, the majority of the detainees are over 60 and one of the lawyers has cancer.
The İzmir Public Prosecutor’s Office claimed in a statement on Friday that the suspects supported the Gülen movement by donating money, sacrificial animals during the Eid al-Adha festival and providing scholarships to students.
According to the statement, all the suspects are accused of financially supporting the “parallel state,” a term coined by current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to refer to the Gülen movement following the Dec. 17, 2013 graft scandal, which implicated some of Erdoğan’s family members and senior Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures. Erdoğan was prime minister at the time the investigations became public.
The İzmir Public Prosecutor’s Office said that 57 detention warrants had been issued as of Friday and that 40 locations searched by police officers from the İzmir Police Department. Police are looking for the remaining 20 people for whom detention warrants have been issued.
In another operation targeting the Gülen movement in İzmir on July 24, police detained 22 locals, 18 of whom were later released by a court. The remaining four were arrested but later released as a result of an objection filed against their arrest.
The latest operation conducted in İzmir coincided with the second anniversary of the graft scandal. Erdoğan has accused the Gülen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement — a grassroots initiative inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen — of plotting to overthrow his government. Erdoğan has said he will carry out a “witch hunt” against anyone with links to the movement. However, no concrete evidence has been brought before any court proving that Gülen movement was involved in the operations against the government and people involved in corruption in 2013. The movement strongly rejects the allegations brought against it.
Source: Today's Zaman , December 20, 2015