Prosecutors in Turkish City of Usak Seek Sentence of 1900 Years in Prison for Fetullah Gulen

On August 16, a court in the Turkish city of Usak confirmed the indictment against 111 members of the Gulen Movement (called FETO/PDY by the Turkish govt.), including its founder, Fetullah Gulen, who is charged of infiltrating the state institutions in an attempt to change the constitutional order in Turkey.

Fetullah Gulen (Image by Diyar se/Public Domain) 1900 years in prison for Gulen

Fetullah Gulen (Image by Diyar se/Public Domain)

Prosecutors are demanding two life sentences and an additional 1,900 years of prison for Fetullah Gulen, accused of attempting to destroy constitutional order in Turkey by force, organizing a terrorist group (the Gulen Movement or FETO is considered as a terrorist organization by Turkish authorities), and financing terrorist activities – in a 2,527 page long official indictment submitted to the court in Usak.

However, this case started long before the July 15th military coup attempt, and is a result of the September 2015 investigation into financial assets of the Gulen Movement by the Usak Prosecutor’s Office.

According to the official indictment, accepted by the court in Usak, the 111 suspects in this case are accused of illegally gaining access to state archives by infiltrating state institutions over the course of many years; the goal of the infiltration, according to the prosecutors, was to radically change the constitutional order by seizing power over all important government institutions.

“Parallel Structure” Within Turkey’s State Institutions

Before the July 15th military coup attempt, Fetullah Gulen, a US-based Islamic scholar and erstwhile ally of the Turkish President and his AKP party, was accused by the government of organizing a “parallel structure“ within state institutions of Turkey in an attempt to overthrow the government.

The de facto leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkish President Erdogan has repeatedly publicly raised the issue of “parallel structure” over the last couple of years, following the tensions with Gulen. According to Erdogan and other AKP statesmen, the Gulen Movement was accused of successfully infiltrating government institutions, military, police and judicial bodies.

The post-coup government crackdown resulted in over 76,000 civil servants being suspended, and over 16,000 people arrested.

The indictment of the Usak Prosecutor’s office states that the Gulen Movement conducted secret activities in an effort to seize power in state institutions, including creating media organizations, schools, insurance companies, and financial intuitions, as well as fabricating the environment of chaos by influencing public opinion trough fake interrogations, false evidence and illegal eavesdropping.

Request to the US to Extradite Gulen

Although Turkish media agencies reported on July 13th, just 2 days before the coup attempt, that the official request to the US for extradition of Gulen had been prepared, the request was sent on July 19. US officials received the request, noting that Washington insists on respecting the extradition procedure.

However, Ankara sent a second request for extradition on August 2nd, due to “new intelligence which indicated Gulen could flee the US”.

On the other side, Gulen, Turkey’s top culprit for the military coup attempt, publicly asked the US not to be extradited to Turkey, denouncing his involvement in the coup.

Dejan Scepanovic

Based in Bosnia and Herzegovina. BA in political science. Columnist.