Former police inspector sent to prison to serve sentence for alleged Gülen links

Former police inspector Ahmet Ertekin was arrested on Friday to serve a sentence of more than six years for conviction of links to the Gülen movement, Turkish media reported.

Ertekin, who was detained and taken to a police station during a random identity check in İstanbul’s Güngören district, was later arrested by a court.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been targeting followers of the Gülen movement, a faith-based group inspired by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, since the corruption investigations of December 17-25, 2013, which implicated then-prime minister Erdoğan, his family members and his inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy against his government, Erdoğan designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. He intensified the crackdown on the movement following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that he accused Gülen of masterminding. Gülen and the movement strongly deny involvement in the abortive putsch or any terrorist activity.

In June, Turkey’s Security Directorate General dismissed from service or canceled the retirement benefits of 1,000 current or retired police officers due to their alleged links to terrorist organizations based on a government decree.

The action against the police officers was based on the temporary 35th article of government decree number 375, which was issued during a two-year-long state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the failed coup. The 35th article of the relevant government decree expired on July 31.

Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is accused of dismissing experienced and competent police officers and filling the police force with its cronies.

Following the abortive putsch, the Turkish government declared a state of emergency and carried out a massive purge of state institutions under the pretext of an anti-coup fight. More than 130,000 public servants, including 4,156 judges and prosecutors, as well as 24,706 members of the armed forces were summarily removed from their jobs for alleged membership in or relationships with “terrorist organizations” by emergency decree-laws subject to neither judicial nor parliamentary scrutiny.

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