Gülen, former police chiefs go on trial over corruption case
AFP photoSome 69 people, including the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and former police chiefs, formally went on trial on Jan. 6, accused of attempting to topple the Turkish government through the corruption investigations that went public in Dec. 2013.
Eight of the 69 defendants are being tried under arrest in the case against a purported “terrorist organization,” which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his inner circle call the “Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).”
The defendents face a total of seven to 330 years in jail in the case.
The first court hearing was held in Istanbu’s Çağlayan Courthouse on Jan. 6. Former police chiefs Yakub Saygılı, Kazım Aksoy, İbrahim Şener, Arif İbiş, Mehmet Habip Kunt, Mehmet Fatih Yiğit, Hüseyin Korkmaz and Mahir Çakallı appeared in court as arrested defendants for ordering the launch of the Dec. 25, 2013 corruption probe.
In the probe Bilal Erdoğan, the son of the president, was implicated as one of the plaintiffs, along with several Turkish businessmen with links to then-Prime Minister Erdoğan.
The government managed to quash the investigation through a series of dismissals and reassignments of prosecutors and state officials.
Gülen continues to reside in Pennsylvania and is being tried in absentia. The Turkish government has filed a request for his extradition from the U.S.
Erdoğan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) accuse Gülen of forming and heading a terrorist organization whose members they say are working as insiders in police, judiciary and other state organizations.