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Gulen Religious Group is officially designated as Terrorist by the Turkish Government

Erdogan accuses Gulen of conspiring to overthrow him by building a network of supporters in the media, judiciary and education

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2014 FILE - Turkish Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen is pictured at his residence in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan officially designated the religious movement of U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen a terrorist group, May 31, 2016. Image source: AP

President Tayyip Erdogan officially designated the religious movement of U.S.-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen a terrorist group and said he would pursue its members whom he accuses of trying to topple the government.

The move puts the organization built by his former ally legally on par with Kurdish militants currently fighting the army in Turkey’s southeast. Erdogan might use the designation in pressing Washington to extradite Gulen, a step U.S. authorities are nonetheless unlikely to take without concrete grounds.

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“We will not let those who divide the nation off the hook in this country,” Erdogan told flag-waving supporters upon arriving late on Monday in the coastal city of Izmir where he will observe military exercises.

Supporters of Gulen movement shout slogans during a protest outside the Kanalturk and Bugun TV building in Istanbul, Turkey, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal/Files
Supporters of Gulen movement shout slogans during a protest outside the Kanalturk and Bugun TV building in Istanbul, Turkey, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Osman Orsal/Files

“They will be brought to account. Some fled and some are in prison and are currently being tried. This process will continue.”

Erdogan said the cabinet had approved a decision to designate Gulen’s followers as the “Gulenist terror group”.

Erdogan, accused by his critics of an increasingly authoritarian style of rule, has long described Gulen as a terrorist. He seeks to break the cleric’s influence, built on a network of schools and companies in Turkey and abroad.

Worldwide operations

Affiliated media firms have been shut down or taken over, a bank seized, and hundreds of people detained. Thousands of the cleric’s followers in the police and judiciary have either lost their jobs or been reassigned.

Erdogan accuses Gulen of conspiring to overthrow him by building a network of supporters in the media, judiciary and education. Gulen denies the charges.

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The two were allies until police and prosecutors seen as sympathetic to Gulen opened a corruption investigation into Erdogan’s inner circle in 2013, 11 years after Erdogan’s AK Party was elected to power.

Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for more than a decade, preaches Sunni Islam together with a message of interfaith dialogue. His movement, known as “Hizmet” or “Service” operates in Europe, the United States, Asia and Africa.

His followers say they are victims of an unfair crackdown. Last year, the Turkish government hired an international law firm to investigate the worldwide activities of the movement. (VOA)

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Tech Giant Apple Expands its Retail Presence in US

There are over 1,800 third-party Apple authorized service providers across the US

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Apple, Campus, China
A customer is entering the Apple store in Fairfax, Virginia. VOA

Expanding its repair services across the US, Apple has partnered consumer electronics retailer Best Buy with the company’s nearly 1,000 stores that would provide expert service and repairs for Apple products.

“We’re always looking at how we can reliably expand our network of trained technicians and we’re excited to partner with every Best Buy store so it’s even easier for our customers to find an authorized repair location near them,” said Tara Bunch, Vice President of AppleCare, said in a blog post on Wednesday.

According to the iPhone-maker, Best Buy has nearly 7,600 newly Apple-certified technicians who are always ready to make same-day iPhone repairs or to service other Apple products.

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The Apple logo is shown outside the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California. VOA

The company asserts that every repair at an authorized service provider was not only performed by trained experts but also backed by Apple.

There are over 1,800 third-party Apple authorized service providers across the US.

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“This is three times as many locations as three years ago, meaning eight out of 10 Apple customers would be within 20 minutes of an authorized service provider,” the post added. (IANS)