Fethullah Gülen's niece arrested while trying to cross into Greece

Fethullah Gülen

The arrest of Imam Fethullah Gülen's niece by the Turkish authorities was announced by the Turkish Ministry of Defence.

The arrest took place while Sümeyye Gülen was trying to cross into Greece.

According to the announcement, "10 people who were trying to cross illegally into Greece were arrested by troops at the border".

"The investigation revealed that five of those arrested were members of the FETÖ terrorist organisation and one of them was Sümeyye Gülen, a niece of Fethullah Gülen."

Who is Fethullah Gülen?

Fethullah Gülen is considered by Erdoğan to be the "leader of terrorists" of the FETÖ organisation, something that is also mentioned in the announcement of the Turkish Ministry of Defense.

In fact, when Recep Tayyip Erdoğan arrived at Istanbul airport after the coup attempt in July 2016, he accused Gülen and his movement of trying to overthrow him.

The imam denied any involvement, but the Turkish president insisted, opening a cycle of retaliation and persecution against members of Hizmet, also known as the Gülen movement.

The 75-year-old Muslim preacher has lived in exile since 1999 in Pennsylvania, USA.

He is the leader of a powerful movement in Turkey, which has a huge network of schools in his homeland, but also around the world, non-governmental organisations and businesses called Hizmet (in Turkish it means "service") and has a great influence in the media, the police and the judiciary.

Although Erdoğan accuses him today, they were strong allies in the past. The alliance disbanded in 2013, when the Turkish president accused Gülen of being behind corruption scandals.

The imam's name is now high on the Turkish list of terrorists.

Erdoğan had taken advantage of Gülen's network to consolidate his power. Today, however, he considers him "the number one enemy of the people."

Since 2013, Erdoğan has accused the imam of establishing a "parallel state" with the aim of overthrowing him, something the "Gülenists" deny.

READ MORE: Erdoğan’s Threats Against Greece and the Levantine Greeks.