More than 30,000 arrested for Gulen movement links since the coup bid
The Interior Ministry announced Monday that 30,709 people have been taken into custody for their links to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) since its members tried to seize power in a coup attempt in July 2016.
Speaking at a press briefing yesterday in the capital Ankara, ministry spokesman İsmail Çataklı said security forces "processed" 511,646 people on FETÖ-related charges over three years following the coup attempt that killed 251 people. "The process" refers to detentions and investigations. A total of 30,709 among them were arrested and are still in custody awaiting hearings in their cases or the start of their trials. Çataklı said another 19,329 people were convicted of FETÖ membership and related crimes. "We continue our fight against FETÖ with determination," the spokesman added. Source
Interior minister says more than 500,000 detained, 30,000 arrested over Gülen links
Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on Wednesday night that more than 500,000 people have been detained while 30,000 others were sent to jail over alleged links to the Gülen movement.
Soylu’s remarks came during an interview on the 24 TV station.
The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
Soylu was responding to a question about main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s claim that ordinary and poor people were being sent to jail due to Gülen links.
“More than 500,000 detentions were made, and there are 30,000 in jail [due to Gülen links]. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu lacks the capacity to understand the severity of this [fight against the movement].
Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs in addition to others facing legal action.
Who are putschists slapped with heavy jail terms?
Nearly three years on, scores of convicts received heavy jail terms for their involvement in the defeated 2016 coup in Turkey.
In the main trial of former general staff personnel, 224 defendants have been tried, including alleged members of the so-called "Peace at Home Council" -- a sub-group of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) -- which was meant to replace the government had the deadly putsch not been defeated.
On Thursday, 17 top putschists each faced 141 aggravated life sentences less than month before the third anniversary of the deadly July 15 coup attempt
FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Here are the main FETO convicts who received heavy jail terms:
Akin Ozturk, former Air Force Commander General
Ozturk, the key officer who plotted the coup from within the military, received a total of 141 aggravated life sentences.
Charges against Ozturk include violating the Constitution, attempted assassination of the president, trying to overthrow parliament, directing an armed terrorist group, mutiny, first-degree homicide, damaging public property, endangering public safety, harming houses of worship, and offenses against civil liberty.
Ozturk was charged with being a member of the FETO/PDY (Fetullah Gulen Terrorist Organization and Parallel State Structure) and a member of the so-called council.
The indictment also recounted a conversation when a person identified as Bayram Aktan asked then-Major Mehmet Akcara "Where is the commander?" referring to the loyalist Chief of General Staff General Hulusi Akar.
According to Aktan's statement, Akcara responded: "There is no commander. From now on Akin Ozturk is the commander."
Former General Hakan Evrim, commander of Ankara's Akinci Main Jet Base
A member of the so-called "Peace at Home Council", Evrim was handed 141 aggravated life sentences for his involvement in the defeated coup.
He was the commander of Akinci Main Jet Base, which was used as headquarters during the attempt.
If the coup attempt had been successful, Evrim would have been slated to become the "Undersecretary of National Education".
Evrim asked then-Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar to speak with Gulen, whom he described as an "opinion leader", while holding Akar under detention with other pro-coup forces.
Mehmet Disli, FETO’s coup director
Also a member of the putschist council, Mehmet Disli received 141 aggravated life sentences.
He was the head of the General Staff's Strategic Transformation Department with the rank of major-general until FETO's treacherous coup attempt.
Disli said he would ask Akar -- currently serving as defense minister -- to cooperate and lead the coup attempt, after having planned the attempted putsch with two other former officers in the General Staff headquarters. Had Akar accepted, Akin Ozturk would have been second-in-command.
After face-to-face meetings with other FETO-member soldiers in the headquarters, he entered Akar's office to tell the four-star general that an operation against the government was imminent, only to be vehemently rejected by Akar.
Unable to persuade Akar to lead the coup attempt, Disli ordered his accompanying soldiers to detain him.
Akar was later taken to the Akinci Base via military helicopter.
FETO soldiers who lost hope after realizing the putsch would fail were forced to release Akar. Seeing this as an opportunity, Disli rode in the same helicopter as Akar to former seat of the now-defunct prime ministry at the Cankaya Palace in Ankara.
He was subsequently exposed by Akar who met with then-Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and reported Disli’s suspicious behavior throughout the night. Afterwards, Disli was detained.
Ilhan Talu, General Staff personnel chief
Among the members of the putschist council, Ilhan Talu, a former lieutenant general, was slapped with an aggravated life sentence for violating constitutional order.
He served as the General Staff personnel chief until the treacherous coup attempt of FETO.
Talu guided Special Forces personnel to the hallway of the General Staff headquarters and mislead Yusuf Yalcin, a guard of the second chief, and Mehmet Satun, a sergeant on duty, by saying an exercise was being carried out.
In a court hearing, he claimed he alerted the authorities who were not involved in the coup attempt on July 15 after learning that it was a coup bid led by FETO.
Levent Turkkan, aide of former chiefs of general staff
Turkan started to serve as the aide of the then-chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Ozel in 2011. After assuming the post, Turkkan started to receive secret missions from FETO.
Turkkan had confessed he spied on Ozel during his post between 2011- 2015.
Once General Hulusi Akar was appointed as the Chief of Staff, Turkkan said he stopped wire-tapping.
He proved his commitment to the FETO terror group during the coup attempt as being a part of the staff that entered Akar's room and gagged him.
After the thwarted coup bid, Turkkan said he surrendered to the military officials who turned him in to the police.