Court frees 8 colonels detained on coup charges, including Erdoğan’s former military aide

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Eight colonels, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s former chief military aide, Staff Col. Bekir Furkan Özdaban,who were detained as part of an investigation into a failed coup attempt on July 15, have been released from custodyon judicial probation.

Nine officers in total were detained in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) on Jan.16 and brought to Ankara, where one of them was immediately released.

Four of the remaining colonels were referred to court for arrest, while four of them were released on judicial probation. An Ankara court on Tuesday decided to release the other four colonels including Özdaban but imposed a travel ban on them.

Özdaban served as chief military aide during former President Abdullah Gül’s term in office and served in the same capacity for Erdoğan for a short period of time.

Turkey survived 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 Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen. The movement denies the accusations.

Over 135,000 people, including thousands within the military, have been purged due to their real or alleged connection to the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, according to a statement by the labor minister on Jan. 10. As of Feb. 1, 89,775 people were being held without charge, with an additional 43,885 in pre-trial detention due to their alleged links to the movement.

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