10 arrested in second wave of İzmir-based police operation

A total of 18 people were detained on Dec. 3 during the operation, which was carried out by police officers from the Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Bureau on the orders of İzmir Deputy Public Prosecutor Okan Bato. Five of the suspects were released after their statements were taken at a police station, and the other three were released pending trial, after being referred to court for arrest.

The first wave of the operation was conducted on Nov. 3, when 44 people were detained as part of the espionage probe. After 36 people were referred to the İzmir 4th Penal Court of Peace for arrest, Judge Dilek Celiktas released 19 of them and arrested the other 17.

The İzmir Public Prosecutor’s Office had released a statement on the operation carried out in November, claiming the suspects are members of the “parallel structure.” The term “parallel structure” was invented by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to refer to followers of the Gulen movement, also known as the Hizmet movement, a grassroots social initiative inspired by the ideas of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gulen.

Erdogan made the elimination of the “parallel structure” a priority after a major corruption scandal involving people in his inner circle came to public attention with a wave of detentions on Dec. 17, 2013. Erdogan, who was prime minister at the time of the scandal, framed the corruption investigation as a “plot against his government” by the Hizmet movement and foreign collaborators.