Turkey is launching a criminal investigation into an alleged “state within a state” accused by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of orchestrating a corruption scandal against him.
It intensifies a power struggle between the PM and a self-exiled former ally whose network is thought to have built up influence in the police and the judiciary.
“We cannot accept an organisation like this one at the heart of the state and we will do all that is necessary to stop it. For us it is a question of survival,” the prime minister said.
Fethullah Gulen (pictured) has a chain of schools and a massive following.
The investigation aims to expose the extent to which network has a grip on public institutions.
In December more than 80 people close to Erdogan’s administration were arrested in a huge corruption investigation.
Three ministers later resigned. In response the government turned on those whose support it had long relied on.
Thousands of police officers and some 200 prosecutors were dismissed or moved from their posts in what critics said was a ploy to stifle the corruption inquiry – something the government denies.
For his part, Gulen has denied orchestrating the corruption scandal and says his worldwide movement is being used as a scapegoat.