Top Gülenist figures get jail terms in major plotting case
ISTANBUL – Anadolu Agency
An Istanbul court on Nov. 3 sentenced several top figures of the Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), including former police chiefs and the ex-chairman of a television network, up to 31.5 years in prison for plotting against a publishing group in 2009.
The 14th High Criminal Court issued its final verdict in the “Tahşiyeciler” case, handing down a jail sentence of 31 years and six months to Hidayet Karaca, the former chairman of Samanyolu TV (STV), for “having a leadership role in an armed terrorist organization,” “defamation” and “forgery of official documents.”
The court also sentenced ex-police intelligence chief Ali Fuat Yılmazer to 16 years and 6 months in jail on charges of being a member of an armed terrorist group and defamation.
The Istanbul court also found three former chiefs of police, Yurt Atayün, Ömer Köse and Tufan Ergüder, guilty of being members of an armed terrorist organization, defamation and forgery of official documents, sentencing them to 25 years each.
Judges decided to try U.S.-based FETÖ leader Fetullah Gülen and fugitive former chief of police Mutlu Ekizoğlu separately as the court has not received their testimonies.
Gülen, former editor-in-chief of Zaman newspaper Ekrem Dumanlı and 31 other suspects - 23 currently in custody - were accused of plotting against the Tahşiyeciler group, according to an indictment filed in 2015.
The indictment was filed following a probe over a 2011 complaint filed by Mehmet Nuri Turan, the founder of the Istanbul-based publishing house Tahşiye, who had claimed that he had been targeted by Gülen.
The prosecutor’s office said a separate probe was underway into Dumanlı, who was also a columnist of the Zaman newspaper, in relation to the Tahşiye case.
Turan said Gülen first targeted the Tahşiye Publishing House in 2009. In a speech, Gülen alleged that Tahşiye and its “Tahşiyeciler” group had links with extremist organizations, including an al-Qaeda-affiliated group, Hizbullah in Turkey and the outlawed Islamic Great Eastern Raiders Front (İBDA-C).
Turan also said Ali Fuat Yılmazer, a former head of police intelligence department, also submitted a report in 2009 which alleged that the Tahşiyeciler supported extremist groups like al-Qaeda.
The same Tahşiyeciler group was also allegedly defamed as a shadowy organization in the “One Turkey” TV series that used to be broadcast on the private Turkish TV network Samanyolu.
The Samanyolu TV chairman was also detained in the Gülen probe for alleged ties with the Gülen movement.
Meanwhile, 18 suspects were detained as part of a İzmir-based operation which was conducted against the “intellectual leg” and “Georgian leg” of FETÖ in 14 different provinces.
The İzmir Chief Prosecutor’s Office started an investigation after a testimony of a secret witness, as detention warrants were issued for 41 suspects as part of the investigation.
Atalay Demirci, who is on trial over “membership of an armed terrorist organization” and “attempting to destroy the constitutional order,” and Ömer Pekin, who once held a private theater show for Gülen, are among the detainees.