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Turkey cracks down on media, 23 arrested

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Istanbul, Dec 15 (IANS) As many as 23 people were detained by the Turkish police in a crackdown on media in 13 cities across the country Sunday, for alleged links with the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Among the detainees were the editor-in-chief of the Turkish daily Zaman, Ekrem Dumanli; former chief of Istanbul’s anti-terrorism police department, Tufan Erguder; former Istanbul deputy chief of police Mutlu Ekizoglu, and the chairman of the Samanyolu media group, Hidayet Karaca, according to a Xinhua report.

An eyewitness said that policemen from anti-terrorism units met with strong resistance from nearly 1,000 people in front of the Zaman building.

As a result, the police could not carry out their operation and had to turn back. The police later called in a bigger force to carry out the arrests.

People shouted slogans of "free media cannot be silenced," according to the eyewitness.

The raid follows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vow to take the alleged Gulen movement group members to task.

Muhammed Fethullah Gulen is a Turkish preacher, former imam, writer and Islamic opinion leader, who had founded the Gulen movement.

Gulen teaches an Anatolian (Hanafi) version of Islam, deriving from Sunni Muslim scholar Said Nursi’s teachings. He had stated that he believed in science and multi-party democracy.

The Turkish government has described the movement and its supporters as the "parallel state" since late 2013.

Erdogan had said in Istanbul Dec 6 that there would be "no mercy" on any type of treason while referring to the alleged parallel structure.

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