Prosecutor seeks two aggravated life sentences for 13 including singer Taş over Gülen links
ISTANBULAn Istanbul prosecutor sought two aggravated life sentences each for 13 suspects including popular Turkish singer Atilla Taş and journalists Murat Aksoy and Gökçe Fırat Çulhaoğlu over their alleged involvement in the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, in a fresh indictment submitted to court on June 6, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The 13 suspects are accused of attempting to destroy the government and the constitutional order, according to the indictment prepared by Istanbul Chief Prosecutor İrfan Fidan.
The indictment said the suspects opened new bank accounts or deposited money in already existing accounts in Bank Asya after an order from U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who is accused of being the mastermind of the coup attempt; that the suspects were users of ByLock, an encrypted messaging application that is said to have been used by members of Gülen’s movement; and that some were in contact with the executive members of the movement by phone.
The indictment also accused the suspects of taking a stance against operations carried out against the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) and supporting the organization in the aftermath of the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013 corruption probes – which targeted figures close to the government at the time.
The prosecutor’s office reportedly sent the indictment to the Istanbul 25th Heavy Penal Court with the demand that it be merged with a previous indictment filed against the suspects in another ongoing case, looking into the their alleged roles in FETÖ’s media network.
On Sept. 2, 2016, a wave of arrests saw Taş along with other 12 suspects detained. He and others were accused of managing a Twitter account that spread propaganda on behalf of Fethullah Gülen.
In a trial on March 31 the court ordered the release of the suspects, but one day later, on April 1, the suspects were rearrested on criminal charges filed in a fresh indictment.
Taş, who first rose to prominence in Turkey as a singer, was writing columns for the daily Meydan newspaper, which was shut down as part of the probe into the Gülen network after the coup attempt. He became more popular on social media with his active role in the summer 2013 anti-government Gezi Park protests.