Cleric with suspected links to Gulen arrested on Greek-flagged yacht


A 48-year-old man believed to be an imam with links to Fetullah Gulen, the cleric Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for a thwarted coup in 2016, has been arrested in a Greek-flagged yacht off Marmaris, according to Anadolu agency.

Anadolu identified the suspect as Murat Elmas, describing him as "the Black Sea Samsun region’s imam" of Gulen's organization, which Erdogan regards as a terrorist group.

Another five suspects were arrested along with Elmas, according to Anadolu.

The 48-year-old, who reportedly taught religious lessons at schools run by Gulen's organization, had been making plans to flee to Greece using a fake identity, the Turkish agency reported.

Three cellphones seized from the suspect reportedly had ByLock, an encrypted cellphone app that other detainees accused in connection with the coup are alleged to have had on their phones. 

According to Anadolu, Elmas's arrest is believed to be a signifcant step in efforts by Turkish authorities to dismantle Gulen's organization.