Skip to main content

Former police chief in Turkey detained over ties to leftist group

From Yesim Comert, CNN
  • Ex-provincial police chief hauled into court
  • The arrest comes after his book was published
  • Book says religious group controls some state institutions

Istanbul, Turkey (CNN) -- The author of a controversial book in Turkey was detained on Tuesday after failing to comply with an order to testify on his suspected ties to an outlawed leftist group, a semi-official news agency reported.

Hanefi Avci was taken into custody in Ankara in the morning hours and was escorted by plane to Istanbul to appear before public prosecutor Kadir Altinisik, the semi-official Anatolian Agency reported. The Istanbul High Criminal Court on Tuesday evening ordered his arrest.

Altinisik refused to talk to CNN, and Anatolian Agency reported that Avci exercised his right to remain silent during his questioning by the prosecutor.

The arrest comes a month after the publication of Avci's controversial and best-selling book -- "Devotee Residents of HaliÁ: Yesterday State, Today Religious Congregation," Avci is a former police chief of Turkey's Eskisehir province.

In his book, Avci claimed that a religious community has gained control of important state institutions and has illegally been tapping telephones, including his.

The leader of the community, Fethullah Gulen, a preacher who has resided in the United States since 2000, is one of the most influential religious figures in Turkey.

Avci was to be questioned as a part of the investigation after the arrest of members of the outlawed "Revolutionary Headquarters" last week in a series of operations.

TV news images showed Avci in the plane and being brought to court.

In a written statement that was sent to press before he was detained, Avci denied having any ties to the "Revolutionary Headquarters."

"They can take me by force but I will never go willingly. I will not bow down in front of anyone or any institution that acts within the plan of the religious group [the Gulen movement] I will not answer any of the questions of the judiciary that I do not believe to be acting according to the laws of the state."