A so-called representative of a cult is employed by Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet), a journalist has said, adding that the cult has infiltrated state institutions.
The religious cult, called Menzil, is a significant power within the state, daily Sözcü journalist Saygı Öztürk has said, as he described his meeting with a so-called sheikh of the group.
"Menzil's Ankara representative is an employee of Diyanet," Öztürk said on Dec. 3, adding that Fevzettin Erol, one of the leaders of the group, claimed to have close relations with state officials and ministers.
"It's a significant power within the state and they say this as well. When I asked questions about the ministers, such as health or energy ministers, he [Erol] said, 'They're our children.' He also said, 'There were days that 10 ministers were at our house,'" the journalist also said.
Öztürk noted that he arranged the meeting with the "sheikh" via getting his number from a former minister.
Following the July 15, 2016, failed coup attempt and the operations after it, followers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen were significantly removed from state institutions - though reportedly being replaced by the Menzil group.
The group's links have been widely discussed in Turkey, with opposition voices warning against the Menzil group infiltrating the state similar to Gülenists.