Fethullah Gulen

Turkish prosecutors demand two life sentences for Gulen

Turkish prosecutors have demanded two life sentences and an additional 1,900 years in prison for US-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara blames for the failed mid-July coup.

In a 2,527-page indictment approved by prosecutors in the Usak region of western Turkey, the Pennsylvania-based cleric is charged with “attempting to destroy the constitutional order by force,” Turkey’s Anadolu news agency reported on Tuesday.

According to the indictment, the cleric also faces criminal charges for “forming and running an armed terrorist group” among other accusations.

The case dates back even before the abortive coup and had been launched by Usak prosecutor’s office into the financial assets of the so-called Fethullah Terror Organization (FETO).

FETO has been accused of infiltrating state archives through its members in the state institutions and intelligence units.

Turkish state media say the group has used media outlets, foundations, private schools, companies, student dormitories and insurance companies to serve its purpose of taking control of all state institutions. FETO has also collected funds from businessmen in the name of “donations” and transferred the money to the United States by means of front companies.

At least 13 out of 111 suspects in the case are remanded in custody, all facing prison terms ranging from two years to life in jail.

The photo by Turkish Presidential Press Office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center, greeting people gathered at the Presidential Complex to protest against the July 15 failed coup, Ankara, August 3, 2016. (AFP)

Earlier this month, Turkish authorities issued an arrest warrant for Gulen, who denies the allegations against him and argues that the blame game could be a ploy by the ruling Justice and Development Party to cement its grip on power in Turkey.

On August 13, Istanbul prosecutor’s office sent a letter to Washington calling for the detention of Gulen.

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on the same day that Washington’s attitude toward the extradition of Gulen has improved since July 15.

“The main element improving our relations with the US is the extradition of Gulen, where there is no room for negotiation,” Yildirim was quoted as saying by CNN Turk, adding, “Whether or not the anti-Americanism in Turkey will continue is also dependent on this.”

By Press TV