Turkish police raid business group tied to Erdogan rival

Turkish police officers stand next to the Koza Ipek Holding building in Ankara on September 1, 2015, after a major swoop of the media group critical of Erdogan and tied to his political nemesis, Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen (AFP Photo/Adem Altan)

Ankara (AFP) - Turkish police on Friday raided the offices of a major business group linked to a US-based cleric who is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's archfoe, local media reported.

Officers were searching the Ankara headquarters of the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (Tuskon), the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.

The operation was part of "the inquiry into the parallel state", Anatolia said, using the government's term to refer to the network of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who lives in exile in the United States.

Since Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) swept back to power in Sunday's election, the police have already launched crackdowns on the president's rivals and opposition media, raising fears about the government's commitment to democracy.

Founded in 2005, Tuskon has 55,000 members and supporters of Erdogan accuse it of financing pro-Gulen activities.

Police also this week detained dozens of high-ranking bureaucrats and police officers in several cities as part of a probe into Gulen supporters.

A former ally of Erdogan, the 74-year-old Gulen is charged with "running a terrorist group" which launched a major corruption probe into the president's inner circle in 2013.

Having emerged stronger from Sunday's election, the AKP government is expected to speed up efforts to clear the state apparatus of so-called Gulenists.

Accused of seeking to stage a coup, the exiled cleric is set to be tried in absentia by a Turkish court in January.