Istanbul, Oct 19 () - An arrest warrant in absentia and a red notice has been issued in Turkey for the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, while a local court has accepted an indictment against 69 suspects, including Gülen, for links to the alleged “Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ)/Parallel State Structure (PDY).”
Istanbul’s 13th Court of Serious Crimes accepted the 1,453-page indictment into suspected allies of Gülen, a former friend turned bitter foe of the Turkish government. It also issued an arrest warrant for the Pennsylvania-based Gülen and Sinan Dursun, who is reported to be Gülen’s assistant, in absentia. Both suspects will be searched for with a red notice, the court ordered.
Gülen is charged with “attempting to topple the government of the Turkish Republic or preventing it from fully or partially conducting its duties,” “forming or managing the FETÖ/PDY, an armed organization,” and “obtaining confidential data that need to be confidential for political spying purposes.” Punishments for the charges range from 37 years in jail to an aggravated life sentence.
Former deputy police manager Hamza Tosun, former Istanbul financial branch head Yakub Saygılı, former deputy anti-financial crimes manager Kazım Aksoy and former deputy anti-financial crimes manager Yasin Topçu, who are all alleged to be managers of the armed organization, face aggravated life sentences and jail time of up to 338 years.
Other suspects in the case, charged with being members of an armed organization, face prison time ranging from seven years to 330 years.
The first hearings in the controversial case will be held on Jan. 6-8, 2016 and Jan. 11, while the venue of the trial has still yet to be determined.
The indictment had been prepared by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.
Eight people, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, his son Bilal Erdoğan, and National Intelligence Agency (MİT) head Hakan Fidan, are listed as the complainants in the case. Some 27 people, including Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, were listed as victims.
Two arrest warrants for Gülen were previously issued. The first arrest warrant was issued on Dec. 19, 2014 following police operations on the Samanyolu Media Group and daily Zaman, which are both linked to Gülen supporters. The second was issued by a Turkish criminal court on Feb. 24 as a part of the investigation into the “parallel state,” in which dozens of suspects have been arrested so far.