Influential Turkish Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen has cursed those responsible for a purge of police officers involved in a corruption investigation, in his first comments on the case that has struck at the heart of the ruling elite. Gulen's words, invoking God's punishment, raise the stakes in a crisis seen as the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in 11 years. Dozens of police chiefs have been removed from their posts since the detentions began.
Sixteen people, including the sons of two ministers, were charged on Saturday in connection with a Turkish corruption investigation that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has called a "dirty operation" aimed at undermining his rule, media said. Suleyman Aslan, the general manager of state-owned Halkbank, was also formally arrested and charged alongside Baris Guler, the son of the interior minister, and Kaan Caglayan, the son of the economy minister, CNN Turk and others reported. Dozens of police chiefs have been removed from their posts, accused of abuse of office for keeping the investigation quiet from higher level officials in security institutions.