A court in Turkey has accepted an indictment against opposition leader in exile Fethullah Gulen for attempting to overthrow the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
According to the indictment seen on Monday, Gulen is accused of “forming and leading a terrorist group” and “obtaining secret information for the aim of political espionage”.
Gulen and 68 other people are also accused of being behind the country’s corruption investigations in 2013 that undermined Erdogan’s allies. They are charged with “seeking to overthrow the government or obstruct its activities by force.” They potentially face life sentences.
The 1,453-page indictment was prepared by Istanbul’s Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office. It said Ankara could not fulfill its potential due to “ugly interventions, plots, terror and crises” created by “our Western ‘friends'” and allies in Turkey.
The court also issued a new arrest warrant for Gulen and his assistants. Earlier on October 2, another arrest warrant was issued for the preacher for “conspiracy, forgery of official documents and slander.”
Erdogan has accused Gulen and his followers of plotting to overthrow the ruling AKP party, a charge Gulen denies. Hundreds of people, believed to be sympathizers of Gulen, many of them members of the police and the judiciary, have been arrested as the government intensifies crackdown ahead of the November 1 snap elections in which the AKP seeks to restore its majority in the parliament.
On October 8, a state prosecutor in the capital, Ankara, issued an order to ban service provider Digiturk from broadcasting two major news networks, namely the Bugun TV and S Haber, along with a children’s channel and four other general stations as they were allegedly close to Gulen.