ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish police searched offices of a business association close to President Tayyip Erdogan’s ally-turned-foe Fethullah Gulen on Friday, media reports said, sustaining a crackdown on the Muslim cleric’s supporters after Sunday’s election.
Anadolu said the raids on the TUSKON business confederation and related groups in Ankara were part of an investigation into the “parallel structure”, a term coined by Erdogan to describe Gulen’s followers and their influence in public office.
The investigation included TUSKON in allegations of “providing financing for terrorism”, local media said.
On Sunday, the AK Party that Erdogan founded secured a return to single-party rule in an election result he portrayed as a vote for stability but which opponents fear heralds growing authoritarianism.
Police detained dozens of people including senior police officers and bureaucrats on Tuesday, alleging they were members of a “Gulenist terror group” that had sought a purge of the army by engineering a 2012 espionage trial.
Gulen’s organization, which has followers across society, including the police and judiciary, helped Erdogan in the first years after his AK Party was elected in 2002. One of Erdogan’s chief tasks lay in ending the political influence of the military, which had toppled a series of governments in second half of the 20th century, including one he had supported.
But the two later fell out after police and prosecutors seen as sympathetic to the cleric opened a corruption investigation into Erdogan’s inner circle in 2013.
The cleric, living in exile in the United States since 1999, is the subject of an arrest warrant in Turkey on a charge that he sought to topple Erdogan; a charge that carries a jail sentence of up to 34 years. Gulen, who controls an international network of schools and businesses, denies the allegation.
Erdogan’s campaign against Gulen continued in the months leading up to Sunday’s election. On Oct. 27, Turkish authorities took over the management of companies including newspapers and TV stations linked to the cleric.
Writing by Daren Butler and Ece Toksabay, editing by Jonny Hogg and Ralph Boulton