Turkish court jails former President Gül’s doctor over links to Gülen movement

A Turkish court jailed the physician of former Turkish President Abdullah Gül on Saturday on charges of alleged membership in the Gülen movement as part of its massive post-coup witch hunt.

According to a report by an online business news outlet Patronlar Dünyası, Dr. Sedat Caner is accused of membership in the Gülen movement. Caner served as the on-site physician for Turkey’s 11th president at the presidential palace in Ankara.

Among the evidence presented to a Turkish court are claims that Caner was in contact with Tuncay Delibaşı, the personal physician of US-based Turkish Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen; increased deposits in a now-defunct Bank Asya bank account; and his alleged use of the ByLock mobile phone messaging application.

Turkish authorities believe ByLock is a communication tool among alleged followers of the Gülen movement. Tens of thousands of people, including civil servants, police officers, soldiers, businessmen and even housewives, have either been dismissed or arrested for using ByLock since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Caner, who was fired from his job at Ankara’s Gazi University with a decree law in October 2016, has denied all charges.

Hundreds of thousands of people in Turkey have been the subject of legal proceedings in the last two years on charges of membership in the Gülen movement since the coup attempt in July 2016, a Turkish Justice Ministry official told a symposium on July 19, 2018.

“Legal proceedings have been carried out against 445,000 members of this organisation,” Turkey’s pro-government Islamist news agency İLKHA quoted Turkish Justice Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Ömer Faruk Aydıner as saying.

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 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.

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