Turkey detains opposition leader’s lawyer

The official lawyer of Turkish main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and party leader, Kemal Kilicdaroglu was detained on Friday in Ankara, local media reported.

Celal Celik was taken into custody over alleged links to the Gulen Movement, accused by Turkish government of orchestrating 2016 coup attempt.

The Istanbul Chief Prosecutor’s Office issued the detention warrant as a part of investigations into the followers of Gulen network.

According to his biography on the party’s official website, Celik is a former judge, who now also works as a member of the party’s High Disciplinary Committee (YDK).

 

 

Celik is accused of being close to a former science, technology and communications advisor to Kilicdaroglu, Fatih Gursul, who was detained in December over alleged links to the Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, Anadolu reported.

Turkey accuses Gulen, who lives in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania, of ordering the attempted putsch, allegations which he strongly denies.

The detention comes after allegations Celik cancelled his subscription with satellite TV provider Digiturk after it removed Gulen-linked television channels Bugun and Samanyolu, Anadolu and private news agency Dogan said.

There were suspicions he cancelled it because of “instructions from Gulen”, Dogan news agency reported.

 

 

Celik will be taken to Istanbul, Anadolu said, as the investigation is conducted by the Istanbul chief public prosecutor.

Over 50,000 people have been arrested since July 2016 over suspected connections with Gulen while nearly three times that have been suspended or fired from the public sector.

Kilicdaroglu has been fiercely critical of the government and the subsequent crackdown, accusing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of a “civilian coup”.

Critics including Kilicdaroglu say the purge has gone well beyond the coup plotters and targeted all kinds of dissidents but the government argues it is necessary to remove real threats to the state.

The Ankara chief prosecutor issued another 71 arrest warrants for people accused of links to Gulen, including eight individuals, who work in the education ministry, Anadolu said.

At least 27 had already been detained, it added.

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