Turkey police probe anti-AKP religious group's foreign links

A Sunni Islamic sect whose leader has been a long-term critic of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is being investigated for possible links to the governments of Egypt or the United Arab Emirates, Islamist newspaper Yeni Şafak said.

Police arrested 21 members of the Furkan Foundation group, including its leader Alparslan Kuytul, in dawn raids in three provinces on Tuesday.

Kuytul studied Islamic law at Al-Azhar University in Cairo, one of the world’s most prestigious Islamic universities, but he has also given over time in his sermons to criticism of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government.

Prosecutors in Adana, where the group and investigation are both centred, also said the group was running an illegal student dormitory and that they had found a total of 364,000 lira ($97,000) in a search of its headquarters.

Kuytul currently faces existing charges of hate speech and insulting the president, but is also being investigated on charges including running a criminal organisation.