07/08/2014, 00.00
TURKEY
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As presidential elections loom, Turkish police launch investigation into Gulen

The Hizmet movement of Erdogan’s great opponent is accused of working to forcibly take control of the state by distorting the existing constitutional order. Police asked to investigate if Hizmet is an armed group or had a role in a series of murders that have rocked Turkey in recent years.

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - On the eve of presidential elections, the Turkish police have launched a thorough investigation into the Hizmet movement of Fethullah Gulen, one-time ally and now staunch opponent of Prime Minister Erdogan. The former supporter of the ruling party, in self-imposed exile in the United States, is accused of plotting to overthrow the government and the secular state.

The daily newspaper Hurriyet reports that a written order has been sent to police departments in 30 provinces, to investigate whether the movement is working to forcibly take control of the state by distorting the existing constitutional order. The order, which bears the date of June 25, also calls on the police to investigate whether Hizmet is an armed group or had a role in a series of murders that have rocked Turkey in recent years, including the 2007 murder of  the Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

The inquiry is a step up in judicial pressure against Hizmet ahead of presidential elections next August in which Erdogan formally launched his candidacy last week - and is considered the favorite - despite the scandals and allegations of corruption that have dogged the last year and the frequent protests against his rule.

The police have also been asked to gather information on members of associations affiliated to the movement, including students of schools Gulen owns and academics who do research with Hizmet.

 

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