Azeri official sacked over 'ties' with Gulen

Elnur Aslanov among names alleged to have links with Turkish Muslim cleric accused by Ankara of setting up a 'parallel state'

Elnur Aslanov among names alleged to have links with Turkish Muslim cleric accused by Ankara of setting up a 'parallel state'

BAKU, Azerbaijan - Azerbaijan has sacked a senior official for having 'links' with Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Muslim preacher who had been accused of masterminding an alleged shadow structure within the state, and of plotting to topple the country's government.

Elnur Aslanov, head of President Ilham Aliyev's Political Analysis and Information Department, was relieved of his duties on Monday, an announcement from the presidency's website said, without specifying the reason for his discharge.

Several Azeri newspapers claimed on March 4 that Turkey's "parallel state" -- an alleged ring nestled within Turkey's judiciary and police force -- had also infiltrated state institutions in Azerbaijan and found cohorts among some politicians.

Azeri daily newspapers claimed that Aslanov had sent a letter to Gulen and he had sworn allegiance to him.

Other names who were claimed to have links with Gulen include chief of a state-run think tank, the leader of a political party and two lawmakers. They have all denied the allegations.

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