İYİ Party leader’s advisor arrested by Turkish court over alleged Gülen links

Kerim Çoraklık, head of the communications team of the opposition İYİ Party and an advisor to the party’s leader, Meral Akşener, who was detained on charges of disseminating the propaganda of the faith-based Gülen movement earlier this month, was arrested on Monday.

Çoraklık was taken into custody in Ankara on May 8 as part of an investigation carried out by the İstanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office due to his social media posts, which allegedly praised the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The detention of Çoraklık came on the same day that pro-government newspapers published front-page stories claiming that Çoraklık serves as a liaison between the social media accounts of the Gülen movement and the İYİ Party and Akşener, the party’s presidential candidate for the June 24 presidential election.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and pro-government media have been focusing on links between the movement and the İYİ Party, which is expected to get votes from AKP supporters in the June 24 parliamentary elections.

Social media expert Çoraklık was first detained on Sept. 7, 2016 along with columnists from the nationalist Yeniçağ newspaper over alleged links to the Gülen movement. He was released on Oct. 20, 2016.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ruling AKP government pursued a crackdown on the Gülen movement following corruption operations in December 2013 in which the inner circle of the government and then-Prime Minister Erdoğan were implicated.

The crackdown on the movement intensified with the failed coup attempt.

Despite the movement strongly denying involvement in the failed coup, Erdoğan launched a witch-hunt targeting the movement following the putsch.

The government also declared a state of emergency in the aftermath of the coup, which is still in effect. (turkishminute.com)

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