by Staff Writers
Istanbul (AFP) Aug 16, 2016
Turkish police on Tuesday raided dozens of companies in Istanbul in search of 120 suspects wanted after last month's botched coup attempt, state media reported.
Police carried out simultaneous raids on 44 businesses including a holding firm in the Uskudar and Umraniye districts on the Asian side of Istanbul, the Anadolu news agency reported.
The suspects are accused of financing the activities of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen who is blamed by authorities for orchestrating the July 15 putsch.
Prosecutors have issued arrest warrants against 120 people, including company managers, the agency added.
The companies targeted have not been named so far. It is not clear how many suspects have been detained in the raids.
Turkish authorities have undertaken a relentless crackdown on alleged Gulen supporters in the wake of the coup, detaining over 35,000 people. Almost 11,600 have since been released.
Gulen, in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999, has denied the government's accusations.
Turkish police on Monday raided four major courts in Istanbul, detaining 136 of the wanted prosecutors and other judicial staff working at the courts.
Turkey's ally Azerbaijan probes Gulen supporters
"In order to prevent illegal actions on the territory of Azerbaijan by the supporters of the terrorist organisation of Fethullah Gulen, the prosecutor general has launched a criminal case," spokesman Eldar Sultanov told AFP.
He said investigators have begun "actions" on the case, without elaborating. It is unclear how many people might be prosecuted in the case.
Gulen is accused of ordering the July 15 coup during which a group within the military tried to remove President Recep Tayyip Erdogan from power, a claim he strongly denies.
Azerbaijan last month shut down a private television channel over plans to broadcast an interview with Gulen, "in order to avoid provocations aimed at damaging the strategic partnership between Turkey and Azerbaijan."
Gulen's Hizmet movement has affiliated schools around the world, including in ex-Soviet Kazakhstan, normally funded by wealthy Turkish businessmen.
They insist it is an informal grouping promoting moderate islam and development, but their critics see them as a shadowy organisation with an unaccountable influence in Turkey.
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