Gulen top suspect in coup investigations

Türkiye Materials 17 July 2016 21:53 (UTC +04:00)

US-based expatriate cleric Fetullah Gulen is the number one suspect in the two investigations launched by Istanbul prosecutors following Friday’s failed coup attempt, judicial sources said Sunday, Anadolu reported.

A total of 2,300 security forces members are accused of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government by force and being members of an armed terrorist organization, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity, due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Meanwhile, in a separate investigation, 132 Istanbul judges and prosecutors are charged with being members of an armed terrorist organization, the sources said, adding that three prosecutors each would be leading the investigations.

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office also reportedly started legal proceedings against eight senior military officers who fled to Greece in an army helicopter following the failed coup.

The officers are accused of stealing a military vehicle and armed looting.

In a related development, Turkey’s Supreme Court has ordered the dismissal of 140 members over alleged ties with the coup attempt.

The Court decided to launch a disciplinary investigation into the members, who were issued detention orders by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s office on Saturday, the body announced Sunday.

Saturday's dismissal decision was taken as a precautionary measure pending the outcome of the investigation, it said.

Of the 140 members, 11 were detained Saturday.

The attempted takeover is said to have been organized by followers of U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, who is accused of a long-running campaign to overthrow the government through supporters within the Turkish state, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, forming the so-called “parallel state.”

Friday night saw military elements make a “vile” attempt to overthrow Turkey’s elected government, according to Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Around 160 people were martyred in the ensuing violence.

Some 2,839 military personnel involved in the coup attempt have been arrested, and 20 pro-coup soldiers, including some senior officers, were killed in the attempt to overthrow the government.

Turkey accuses Gulen of being behind the coup and called for him to return to Turkey to face trial.