Turkish police raid businesses 'linked to US-based preacher'

Turkish police raid businesses 'linked to US-based preacher'
Around 1,000 Turkish officers took part in a vast operation across 15 provinces on Thursday, raiding businesses suspected of financing US-based Fethullah Gulen.
2 min read
18 August, 2016
Around 1,000 police took part in the operation in 15 provinces across Turkey [AFP]

Turkish police launched a vast operation against businesses suspected of financing US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who was accused by Ankara of masterminding last month's attempted coup.

Prosecutors issued 187 arrest warrants as part of the operation in the country's economic capital of Istanbul and other provinces, CNN-Turk reported.

It said around 1,000 police took part in the operation in 15 provinces on Thursday, which included simultaneous raids in about 100 addresses in several districts of Istanbul.

The suspects are accused of financing the activities of Gulen, blamed by authorities for orchestrating the July 15 putsch.

In a similar operation on Tuesday, Turkish police raided dozens of companies in Istanbul in search of 120 suspects. Around 100 people were detained.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said late Wednesday that 40,029 state employees have been detained in the crackdown on alleged Gulen supporters in the wake of the failed July 15 coup, of whom 20,335 have been remanded in custody.

More than 5,000 civil servants have been dismissed and almost 80,000 others suspended, he said in an interview with TRT public television.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to eradicate businesses, charities and schools linked to Gulen, calling them "terror organisations" and "nests of terror."

Gulen, a reclusive cleric who has lived in the US since 1999, has been repeatedly accused of running a "parallel state" since a corruption scandal embroiling then premier Erdogan and several of his ministers erupted in 2013.

Gulen, in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has denied the government's accusations.

Ankara wants Washington to extradite Gulen to face trial back home, indicating that any failure to deliver him will severely damage ties.