Turkish court gives 9-year jail sentence to man for taking medicine to Gülen-linked hospitals in Tanzania

Abdurrahman Selçuk

A 60-year-old Turkish man, Abdurrahman Selçuk, has been convicted of terror charges and handed down a nine-year jail sentence by a Turkish court on the grounds that he took medicine to the hospitals linked with the Gülen movement in Tanzania.

Selçuk’s trial was concluded by the Kayseri 2nd High Criminal Court on Thursday. He was given the jail sentence of charges of being a member of a “terror organization.”

In his defense, the man denied the terror charges and said he was taking medicine to the Turkish hospitals in Tanzania to make a living and did not know that they had links to the Gülen movement. “I am innocent. I have missed my black pearls [Tanzanian children]. I want my release and acquittal,” said Selçuk.

Selçuk was detained on Jan. 26 and subsequently arrested.

The followers of the Gülen movement have been running schools, hospitals and carrying out charity activities across the world for years.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also 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 has suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants since July 15. On December 13, 2017 the Justice Ministry announced that 169,013 people have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on April 18, 2018 that the Turkish government had jailed 77,081 people between July 15, 2016 and April 11, 2018 over alleged links to the Gülen movement. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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