Former prosecutors, judge overseeing Iran-backed Tevhid-Selam network detained

Former judge Dursun Ali Gündoğdu and prosecutors Adnan Çimen and Sadrettin Sarıkaya, who had overseen an investigation on Iran-backed Tevhid-Selam network in Turkey until they were dismissed from profession in 2014, were detained by police in İstanbul on Friday.

Detention warrants were issued for Gündoğdu, Çimen and Sarıkaya over their alleged links with faith-based Gülen movement which Turkish authorities accuse of being behind a failed coup attempt in Turkey in last July.

Police raided two apartments in Kayaşehir neighborhood of Başakşehir district in İstanbul on Friday and detained three former members of judiciary.

As part of an investigation carried out by Bakırköy Deputy Public Prosecutor Ömer Faruk Aydıner, Gündoğdu, Çimen and Sarıkaya were accused of “political and military spying, attempting to overthrow Government of the Turkish Republic, revealing top secret state documents, fabricating crimes, forgery in official documents and professional misconduct.”

The investigation on Tevhid-Selam network, an Iran-backed clandestine organization which has long been nested in Turkish government organizations wits its extensions in the media, business world and nongovernmental organizations, was first launched in 2010 after Kamile Yazıcıoğlu, a 49-year-old woman who had fled from her abusive husband, informed Bursa’s anti-terror unit that her husband, Hüseyin Avni Yazıcıoğlu, has been working for Iranian intelligence and provided documents as evidence to back up her claims.

According to documents obtained by prosecutors during the investigation, Tevhid-Selam network were linked to the Tevhid magazine and the Selam newspaper and had been involved in several unsolved murders in Turkey, including intellectuals such as Bahriye Üçok, Muammer Aksoy, Abdi İpekçi, Ahmet Kışlalı and Uğur Mumcu.

Following the purges in Turkish judiciary soon after the revelation of a graft scandal in December 2013 in which ministers from ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and figures close to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was implicated, the AKP government stifled Tevhid-Selam probe and abruptly replaced prosecutors on the case. While the new prosecutors decided for non-prosecution about the case, former judge and prosecutors in the case, Gündoğdu, Çimen and Sarıkaya, were dismissed from the profession.

Fearing fallout from the publication of the investigation file, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government stifled the probe and abruptly replaced prosecutors on the case after the Dec. 17, 2013 graft scandal. In the meantime, a massive smear campaign was launched in the media to discredit the probe as government officials rushed to downplay the significance of the evidence gathered over three years.

While AKP government accused Gülen movement of being behind the graft probe in December 2013, the government crackdown on the movement speeded up following the failed coup on July 15 last year as Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.


Meanwhile, a local governor in the Hayrabolu district of Tekirdağ province was detained on Saturday over alleged links to the Gülen movement, as part of an ongoing purge in Turkey. Governor Kürşad Özdemir was detained for using a smart phone application named ByLock, which according to the government is evidence of links to the Gülen movement.

In January, a report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Turkish government immediately put the blame for the July 15 failed coup attempt on the Gülen movement, the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge, according to a report by The Times newspaper.

The European intelligence contradicts the Turkish government’s claim that Turkish-Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, a cleric living in self-exile whose views inspired the movement, was behind the plot to overthrow the Turkish government.

In the currently ongoing post-coup purge, over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian. (The SCF with Feb. 18, 2017

Hayrabolu governor Kürşad Özdemir.
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