Islamic scholar Gülen’s brother arrested after 15 days under detention

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One of the brothers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, Kutbettin Gülen, who was detained in the western province of İzmir on Oct. 2, was arrested on Tuesday after he was held in custody for two weeks.

Seventy-year-old Kutbettin Gülen was taken to the İzmir Courthouse on Monday morning where he was subsequently arrested by a court. His hands were bound behind his back while being taken to the courthouse.

Kutbettin Gülen was detained at a relative’s house in the Gaziemir district as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, which has been labeled a terrorist organization by the Turkish government despite a lack of credible evidence.

Media reports said none of the three lawyers appointed by the İzmir Bar Association agreed to defend Gülen, fearing government retribution. A fourth lawyer has reportedly been appointed by the bar association.

In his deposition, Kutbettin Gülen reportedly denied the existence of a terror organization called FETÖ. FETÖ, which means Fethullahist Gülen Terror Organization, is a term used by the Turkish government to describe the Gülen movement.

Earlier this month, a high criminal court in Hatay province in Turkey’s south rejected an indictment on alleged members of FETÖ, saying that there is no such terrorist organization officially identified.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 people and wounded more than a thousand others. Immediately after the putsch, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement within hours of the abortive attempt.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup, a claim not backed up by evidence.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

More than 100,000 people have been purged from state bodies and 32,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.

A state of emergency declared in the aftermath of the coup attempt in Turkey increased the period of detention to as long as 30 days.

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