Former governor given 7,5-year jail sentence over his alleged links to Gülen movement

An Ankara court has handed down prison sentence of 7 years 6 months to former Bitlis governor Veysel Yurdakul on charges of membership in the Gülen movement and “selling a vacant land to the management of a Gülen-affiliated school in Bitlis.”

According to the Haber Türk daily, the former governor is also accused of sending his two children to a school established by Gülen sympathizers in 2010 and of having a bank account at Gülen-affiliated Bank Asya, which was seized by the government before the coup attempt.

During the trial on Wednesday, Yurdakul reportedly admitted that he sent his kids to a Gülen-affiliated school, however; denied selling any vacant land to Gülen-affiliated school, saying that the selling was done with the approval of Bitlis municipal council.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch AKP government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. Turkey has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. (SCF with

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