Former Istanbul governor arrested over failed coup attempt

Former Istanbul governor arrested over failed coup attempt

Former Istanbul governor arrested over failed coup attempt

AA photo

Former Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu was arrested early on Aug. 5 over the July 15 failed coup attempt, which was believed to be orchestrated by the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).       

Legal sources said Mutlu and nine other suspects, including governors, a deputy governor and three district governors, were arrested for being members of the Gülen movement. 

Mutlu, who served four years as Istanbul governor until 2014 – a period which included a police crackdown on the Gezi protests under his watch – when he was reassigned to Ankara to become an Interior Ministry civil servant, denied having ties to FETÖ during his interrogation. He was suspended from his position on July 17. 

“I [take umbrage with the fact] that I was laid off from the job two days after the coup attempt which martyred 246 people and injured almost 2,500 others and pulled a gun on our national will,” Mutlu said. “I refuse to be tried alongside coup-plotters.”

He said he condemned the events as they were unfolding on July 15.        

“On the night of the coup attempt, I condemned the coup on Twitter and I obviously said they should pay the price before law,” he said, referring to the coup plotters. 

“I have 2 million followers on Twitter. They all saw my position against the coup”, Mutlu said.  

Asked about his connection to former Air Force Cmdr. Akın Öztürk, who was allegedly among the organizers of the coup attempt and whose telephone number was found on Mutlu’s phone, he said the record existed because of a prior professional relationship the pair had while Mutlu was the governor of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır between 2007 and 2010, when Özturk served as commander of the Diyarbakır 2nd Main Air Base.        

Özturk was arrested and suspended from the Turkish Armed Forces during the investigation over the failed coup attempt.       

Two books written by the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen were found in Mutlu’s house, according to Anadolu Agency.

“They may belong to my sister-in-law or her son,” Mutlu said, denying allegations that the books belonged to him. 

Mutlu also said he spoke on the phone with Gülen once, “but never met him.”  

Mutlu was detained July 26 as part of the investigation into the failed takeover, which resulted in the deaths of 239 people and injury to nearly 2,200 others.