Turkish courts sentence more than 55 people to jail terms over alleged links to Gülen movement

Turkish courts across the country have sentenced a total of 57 people to prison, ranging from one year to twelve years on Friday over their alleged links to the Gülen movement.

The Gaziantep 7th High Criminal Court ordered a jail term for 21 people on Friday, ranging from 6 years to 12 years. Separately, on the same day, 10th High Criminal Court in Gaziantep sentenced a former chief inspector of the Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSK) to 6 years and 3 months in jail for being a member of the Gülen movement.

A former deputy inspector of police in western İzmir province was also sentenced to 9 years and 3 months in prison by 13th High Criminal Court of the city. Separately, a former police commissioner was sentenced to 9 years and 9 months in jail by the same court on Friday.

In southern Adana province, a former judge was given 1 year, 10 months and 15 days in prison by 11th High Criminal Court in the city. The same court also sentenced a former deputy inspector of police to 7 years and 6 months in prison on Friday.

Six people were given by a high criminal court in Rize, the Black Sea province of Turkey, jail terms on Friday ranging from 7 years and 6 months to 8 years and 9 months. Also, five more people sentenced to prison, ranging from 6 years and 3 months to 7 years and 6 months, from the same court in Rize.

In eastern Erzurum province, 2nd High Criminal Court, 6 people were given jail terms ranging from 6 years and 3 months to 12 years and 6 months.

The Karabük 1st High Criminal Court sentenced eight others in prison, ranging from six years to eight years.

In southeastern Hakkari province, six people, including former mayor of the city, were awarded five years to eleven years and three months in prison.

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 Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

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. Turkey’s Interior Minister announced on December 12, 2017 that 55,665  people have been arrested. Previously, 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.

A total of 48,305 people were arrested by courts across Turkey in 2017 over their alleged links to the Gülen movement, said Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on Dec. 2, 2018. “The number of detentions is nearly three times higher,” Soylu told a security meeting in İstanbul and claimed that “Even these figures are not enough to reveal the severity of the issue.”

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