Gülenists brace for terror trial as prosecutors wrap up case
by Yüksel Temel
ISTANBULJun 15, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Yüksel Temel
Jun 15, 2016 12:00 am
They have been entangled in numerous legal battles but members of the controversial Gülen Movement will stand trial for the first time in the main case, where they are accused of running an elaborate terrorist organization. The chief prosecutor's office in the capital of Ankara is nearing the completion of a comprehensive indictment in the main case against the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) and the indictment is scheduled to be presented to the court in the coming weeks. Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the movement, is the main defendant in the case accompanied by 73 others described as senior names in the organization by prosecutors.
The Gülen Movement is accused of being behind two coup attempts in 2013. Since then, members of the movement, which exerted control within the bureaucracy, law enforcement and judiciary, face a string of investigations and trials for separate charges, ranging from illegal wiretapping to money laundering, blackmail, extortion etc. Though the movement's members are grouped within FETÖ, designated as "a national threat" by the state and they faced charges of membership of a terror organization, the Ankara trial will be the first comprehensive lawsuit against the group.
The indictment, which includes accounts from 620 witnesses, says FETÖ controls $150 billion in wealth and details how Gülenists infiltrated the upper echelons of the state and critical posts within law enforcement and courts.
Prosecutors say Gülen, a "universal imam," committed his crimes through his point men named as "imams" who relayed his orders to sympathizers of the movement or people who were blackmailed into working for the group. Infiltrators within the state constitute a major factor in the Gülenist clout in Turkey and prosecutors say the infiltration was facilitated with cheating by Gülenists in civil service exams. Gülenists are accused of stealing questions from exams for civil servants, judges and prosecutors according to the indictment, to infiltrate into the intended posts.
The indictment also underlines how Gülenists silenced people they deemed an obstacle to their infiltration and details imprisonment of those people by forged evidence and through sham trials by Gülenist judges and prosecutors.
Fethullah Gülen (below) is accused of ordering illegal wiretappings and secretly recording of images and videos of prominent figures with the ultimate aim of blackmail.