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35 suspects detained in Turkey over alleged Gulen links

The former AKP ally has been charged in abstentia with 'running a terrorist group'
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking to supporters after morning prayers at Eyup Sultan Mosque in Istanbul (AFP)

Turkish police on Tuesday detained 35 suspects including high-ranking bureaucrats and police officers as part of a probe into supporters of a US-based cleric accused of plotting to bring down President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, local media reported.

Police raided several addresses in the western coastal city of Izmir, the private Dogan news agency reported.

The operation comes just after Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) swept back to power by winning almost half of the vote in Sunday's election. 

A strengthened AKP government is expected to speed up efforts to purge the state of exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen's loyalists.

A former ally of Erdogan turned arch-enemy who lives in the United States, Gulen is charged with "running a terrorist group" which launched a probe into the president's inner circle in 2013. 

He is due to go on trial in absentia in January.

Erdogan accuses Gulen of trying to topple him by persuading allies in Turkey's police force and judiciary to launch a vast probe into government corruption in December 2013, which led to the resignation of four ministers.

Turkish authorities responded by purging both the police force and judiciary of pro-Gulen elements and arresting news editors and businessmen.

The movement had supported the Islamic-rooted AKP when it came to power in 2002 but the relationship between the cleric and the president degenerated as Erdogan became increasingly worried about Gulen's bid for power.

Gezi park protesters charged

Twenty eight suspects involved in the 2013 Gezi Park demonstrations were sentenced to jail on Monday evening, in a court in the province of Kayseri, out of a total of 161 charged.

One was convicted for "harming public property", two for "harming property" and the rest for "resisting a public official".

The sentences ranged from five months to a year in jail.

Seckin Ozturk, one of the lawyers of the suspects, slammed the ruling saying the protesters had been exercising their "constitutional rights".

“None of the people who attended the protest intended to commit a crime. Everybody was using their constitutional right,” said Ozturk, calling for the acquittal of all suspects.

All 161 suspects were acquitted of charges of "defamation of public officials".

The Gezi Park protests began in May 2013 following an attempt by the Istanbul local authorities to demolish one of Istanbul's last green spaces to make way for a shopping mall.

The protests spiralled into country-wide demonstrations against Erdogan's rule.