Turkey: Prosecutor seeks 34-year jail term for Gulen

US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen accused of "masterminding an armed organization, forgery of official documents, slander"

Turkey: Prosecutor seeks 34-year jail term for Gulen


An Istanbul prosecutor has demanded a jail term of up to 34 years for U.S.-based preacher Fethullah Gulen on charges of "conspiracy, forgery of official documents and slander" as part of a probe on what is known as "parallel state" in Turkey.

The prosecutor also sought prison sentences of up to 26 years for 32 other suspects each including Samanyolu Media Group chairman Hidayet Karaca and several police chiefs on charges of "membership to an armed organization, forgery of official documents and slander."

The parallel state is a purported clandestine group of Turkish bureaucrats and senior officials embedded in the country's institutions, including the judiciary and police, led by Gulen and his Hizmet (Service) Movement, plotting to overthrow the elected government.   

The jail terms are related to a probe over a 2011 complaint filed by Mehmet Nuri Turan, the founder of the Istanbul-based publishing house "Tahsiye", who had claimed that he had been targeted by Gulen.

The prosecutor's office also said a separate probe was underway into Ekrem Dumanli, columnist and editor-in-chief of the Zaman newspaper, in relation with the Tahsiye case.

Turan had said Gulen first targeted the Tahsiye Publishing House in 2009. In a speech, the preacher had alleged that Tahsiye and its "Tahsiyeciler" group had links with extremist organizations -- including an al-Qaeda-affiliated group -- Hezbollah in Turkey, and the Islamic Great Eastern Raiders Front.

Turan also said that Ali Fuat Yilmazer, a former head of police intelligence department, had also submitted a report in 2009 which alleged that Tahsiyeciler supported extremist groups like al-Qaeda because of which the group was systematically targeted.

The same Tahsiyeciler group was also allegedly defamed as a shadowy organization in the "One Turkey" TV series that used to broadcast on the private Turkish TV network Samanyolu.

Samanyolu TV chairman was also detained in the parallel state probe for allegedly having ties with the Gulen movement.

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