Former Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu pleads not guilty at court
ISTANBULFormer Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu, who appeared before an Istanbul court on Aug. 24 on charges of having links to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), has pleaded not guilty, denying all allegations against him.
“If the July 15 coup attempt had been realized, this structure [Gülen movement] would also have locked me up in this Silivri [prison]. I could not ingratiate myself with either Jesus or Moses,” Mutlu said in his defense, private broadcaster CNN Türk reported.
The second hearing of the trial, in which 15 suspects including Mutlu and former Istanbul Police Chief Hüseyin Çapkın stand charged over suspected links to FETÖ, took place on Aug. 24 at the Istanbul 30th Heavy Penal Court at a building across from Silivri Prison. Some 14 suspects and their relatives were present at the courtroom.
Mutlu also touched on his prior duty assignments, especially those in Turkey’s southeastern region, where clashes between security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are intense. During his defense, he cried when talking about how scared his children were when bombs were exploding in the region.
In response to the allegations against him, Mutlu read aloud to the court the Tweets he shared on the night of last year’s failed coup attempt, which is widely believed to have been orchestrated by the followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen.
He said that on July 15, 2016 he was at his home in the town of Altınoluk, in the Marmara province of Balıkesir, when he learned about the coup attempt at around 11 p.m. He said he did not have a subscription to any newspaper or magazine related to FETÖ, that he has been using the same mobile phone number for the past 17 years, and that he had never used Bylock, an encrypted messaging application said to have been used almost exclusively by members of the Gülen movement.
“Everything about me has been analyzed. It has been seen that I am transparent. I have never had a relationship with this [Gülen] movement. For all of my life, I adhered to the constitution and the law. There is no tangible evidence in the indictment in relation to FETÖ,” Mutlu said.
The 309-page indictment, prepared by the Istanbul Chief Prosecutor Emine Koçak, filed charges against Mutlu along with other 14 suspects over “violation of the constitution,” “attempting to destroy the Turkish Republic and the Turkish Parliament by using physical violence,” and “membership of a terrorist organization.”
Additionally, the indictment also filed charges against eight suspects, including Mutlu, within the context of law number 6415 on the “Prevention of Terrorism Finance,” seeking between 7.5 and 15 years in prison.
The prosecutor has demanded three aggravated life sentences for all suspects in the indictment.