Agents of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization have launched an operation to arrest and repatriate the nephew of Fethullah Gulen, an opponent of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Ankara accuses Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Muslim preacher, of orchestrating a 2016 coup attempt that left hundreds dead and thousands more injured.
Since 2016, Turkey has arrested tens of thousands of people suspected of links to Gulen. Citing sources within the security organs, the Anatolian State News Agency reported that Selahaddin Gulen was brought to Turkey by Turkish intelligence agents.
It was not immediately clear where he was arrested.
The agency published a photo of the suspect in handcuffs. Two Turkish flags were placed next to him. The reports did not provide information on whether the intelligence agents’ operation was carried out in agreement with the place where Gulen’s nephew was arrested.
Selahaddin Gulen is accused of belonging to the “terrorist organization FETO”, the description used by Ankara for the movement of Fethullah Gulen.
Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, USA, insists he leads a peaceful network of charities and companies and denies any connection to the 2016 coup attempt.
Erdogan and Gulen were once allies.
Today, Erdogan says Gulen is the leader of a “terrorist” group that seeks to overthrow the Turkish government.
Since the failed coup in 2016, Turkey has “repatriated” dozens of people accused of belonging to the Gulen network, particularly in the Balkans and Africa.
The abduction of six Turkish citizens in Kosovo by Turkish agents in 2018 sparked a political crisis in the Balkans, leading to the dismissal of the interior minister and intelligence chief.
In Turkey, since 2016, more than 140,000 public sector employees, including teachers and judges, have also been fired or suspended for alleged links to Gulen.