400 critics of Erdogan expected to be arrested, says Twitter user

Tweets from 'Fuatavni' are taken seriously by officials

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The Independent Online

As many as 400 critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to be arrested today in sweeping raids across the country after a well-known but anonymous Twitter user, who is thought to be a government official, warned his followers of the imminent raids.

‘Fuat Avni’ who uses the @Fuatavnifuat Twitter handle sent a message to his 104,000 followers yesterday afternoon, warning that “Tomorrow there will be an operation!” Embedded in the Tweet was a link to a website that named 400 people, including 147 journalists from newspapers known to be critical of Mr Erdogan and his governing Justice and Development party (AK). The website said everyone on that list would be taken into custody.

Tweets from ‘Fuatavni’ are taken seriously by officials. The whistleblower is thought to be among the government’s inner circle and has made reliable predictions about police operations since last year’s so-called ‘17 December’ scandal, which rocked Turkish politics.

On the morning of 17 December 2013, news surfaced that several high-profile businessmen and family members of three MPs had been arrested. In the following weeks, more details came out alleging then Prime Minister Erdogan’s personal connections with corruption cases. Months later, an audio file was shared online that was alleged to be a conversation between Mr Erdogan and his son telling him to get rid of $30m. The government refused to give credence to the allegations, claiming they were orchestrated by the “parallel state” as part of an attempted coup.


‘Fuat Avni’ said this morning’s arrests are in response to the 17 December scandal, since which, numerous high level bureaucrats and businessmen have been implicated. A raid on the home of head of Halk Bank, Suleyman Arslan, found $4.5m hidden in shoeboxes. Mr Arslan denied any wrongdoing.

This morning’s raids are expected to take place in Istanbul, Ankara and Malatya. Those on the list include editors of Zaman and Today’s Zaman – newspapers affiliated to the Hizmet movement. Mr Erdogan – who denies all the allegations – has described the scandal as an attempted coup by Hizmet.