, ISTANBUL, Apr 18 – Turkish police on Monday detained at least 105 people in a new wave of raids on suspected supporters of US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, arch foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reports said.
Those detained are accused of providing financing for the “terror organisation” of Gulen, who the Turkish government accuses of seeking to overthrow Erdogan.
Turkish prosecutors have issued arrest warrants for 140 people and 105 people have been detained so far, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.
Most of those detained were apprehended in Istanbul, it said, adding that the operation involved some 800 police.
Over 40 of those detained were employees of Bank Asya, a bank linked to Gulen that was put under state control last year. Another 45 are described as businesspeople.
They stand accused of “being a member of a terror organisation” and “financing a terror organisation”.
Among the businessmen detained are two members of the board of leading Turkish construction firm Dumankaya Insaat, Anatolia said.
Those detained have been brought to the financial crimes department of Istanbul police for questioning.
Ankara accuses Gulen of running what it calls the Fethullahaci Terror Organisation/Parallel State Structure (FeTO/PDY) and seeking to overthrow the legitimate Turkish authorities.
Gulen supporters decry the accusations as ridiculous, saying all he leads is a more informal group known as Hizmet (Service).
The preacher has been based in the United States since 1999 when he fled charges against him laid by the former secular authorities.
He and Erdogan used to be allies but fell out and the president blames Gulen for a 2013 corruption scandal that broke while he was prime minister and posed one of the biggest threats of his rule.
Turkish authorities have since the summer of 2014 rounded up allies of Gulen in numerous police operations but this was one of the biggest to date.