Hundreds detained over two years of probes against Gülenists in Turkey
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
DHA photoAround 1,800 people, including 750 police officers and 80 soldiers, have been detained as part of ongoing operations in Turkey against sympathizers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen since 2014.
Some 439 detainees, including 205 police officers and 34 soldiers, have been formally arrested in 2014 and 2015 amid operations across the country against the so-called “parallel structure.”
A majority of these suspects have been released from prison pending trial, while there were still 278 people in jail pending trial as of Jan. 1.
Since early 2014, investigations into the “parallel structure” have seen hundreds of civil servants, including police officers and public prosecutors, arrested or reassigned.
The first operation against Gülenists took place on February 2014 in the southern province of Adana with suspects detained on “espionage” accusations.
Gülen is the top suspect in numerous cases involving the “Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ)/Parallel State Structure (PDY),” an alleged illegal organization that the government says is led by him. Both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) accuse the “parallel structure” of exploiting the judiciary and state institutions to achieve its goal of overthrowing the government.
Gülen has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999 but is now the subject of a series of arrest warrants in Turkey. A prosecutor is seeking a prison sentence of up to 34 years for Gülen on allegations that he sought to topple Erdoğan. Gülen denies the allegations.
On Nov. 10, 2015, an Istanbul court accepted an indictment against 122 suspects including Gülen, former police chief Yurt Atayün, and police officer-turned-columnist Emre Uslu. The indictment came as part of the investigation into misconduct in a past probe that led to sprawling surveillance activities against hundreds of leading lawmakers, academics and journalists.
Demanding the arrest of Gülen and Uslu without a warrant, the Istanbul 14th Court for Serious Crimes on Nov. 9 accepted the indictment against 122 suspects. Gülen was listed as the primary suspect and Uslu was listed as the secondary suspect in the indictment.
The court ruled to issue red notices for Gülen and Uslu as they were abroad at the time, while it also wrote an official letter to the Justice Ministry’s International Law and Foreign Affairs Directorate to bring the two back to Turkey.
A total of 968 people, including Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, all ministers in the 61st AKP cabinet, several university rectors, academics, public servants, journalists and other prominent figures were listed as victims and plaintiffs in the indictment.
The indictment also demanded double aggravated life sentences against Gülen, Uslu and Atayün for charges including one count each of “forming and heading an armed terrorist organization,” “gathering officially confidential information for political and military surveillance purposes,” “attempting to topple the government of the Republic of Turkey,” “violation of private life and keeping personal data,” “fabricating false documents,” “fabricating criminal activity,” “publicizing officially confidential information for political and military surveillance purposes,” “obstructing, concealing and manipulating evidence” and “unlawful recording of personal data.”