Turkish PM’s chief advisor Erdem referred to court for arrest

Birol Erdem

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s chief advisor, Birol Erdem, who was detained on June 3 in Ankara as part of a witch-hunt targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, was referred to court for arrest on Friday, the İHA news agency reported.

Erdem was accused of violating the constitutional order and serving as an executive in an armed terrorist organization.”

Erdem’s wife, Gülümser Erdem, who was also detained in Ankara for alleged membership in the Gülen movement as part of the same investigation launched by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, was referred to court for arrest on Friday as well.

A former member of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), Birol Erdem served as Justice Ministry undersecretary between 2011-2014 before being appointed chief advisor to the prime minister.

A controversial military coup attempt on July 15 killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic 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.

At least 161,751 people were detained or investigated and 50,334 people were arrested in Turkey in the framework of the Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting alleged members of the Gülen movement since the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, according to statistics reported by state-run Anadolu news agency by basing on information taken from the officials from Turkey’s Justice Minsitry on June 13. (SCF with turkishminute.com) June 16, 2017

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