The spokesperson of Turkey’s Justice Ministry has said that Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into Salafi associations which are alleged to be taking up arms in the country.
“An investigation has been launched by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office against [Salafi] groups which are alleged to be taking up arms,” Ertuğrul Çekin was quoted as saying by online T24 news portal on Sept. 25.
The investigation comes after Ahmet Mahmut Ünlü, a popular preacher from the İsmailağa order of Naqshbandi Sufis, warned the government against 2,000 Salafi associations in Turkey.
Also known as Cübbeli Ahmet Hoca, Ünlü said during a TV program on Sept. 9 that these associations have started to take up arms and train their members for a civil war.
Afterwards, Ünlü told daily Sözcü that if the prosecutors were to summon him, he could give the names of at least 150 of these Salafi associations.
Upon these remarks, Ünlü gave his testimony at Istanbul police headquarters on Sept. 25.
The Salafi movement, also called the Salafist movement, is a reform branch movement within Sunni Islam that developed in Al-Azhar Mosque in Egypt in the late 19th century as a response to Western Europe. The movement has recently gained more support in Turkey. Critics accuse Turkish Salafists of joining radical armed groups in Syria.