“Turkey Launches Criminal investigation into Cleric Gulen”

290620131633413381446Turkish prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen based on allegations he attempted to overthrow the government.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday he would ask the United States to extradite former ally Gulen, whom he accuses of plotting to topple him and undermine Turkey with concocted corruption accusations and secret wiretaps.

A move to extradite Gulen, whose followers say they number in the millions, would be possible only if Turkey first issued an arrest warrant and produced evidence of a crime, according to one legal expert.

Erdogan, whose ruling AK Party traces its roots to political Islam, accuses him of building a “parallel state” of followers in institutions such as the police and judiciary and using them in an attempt to seize the levers of state power.

Culture Minister Omer Celik told broadcaster NTV there was an investigation into Gulen based on “serious allegations, a process extending as far as spying activities.”

“We see that they (followers of Gulen) formed a state within a state and wiretapped even the most private government meetings,” Celik claimed.

NTV reported separately, without specifying its sources, that the investigation, launched by state prosecutors in the capital Ankara, was also based on accusations against Gulen of “establishing and leading a gang” and “attempting to destroy the Turkish government, or to partially or completely prevent its functioning,” NTV reported.




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