Indictment seeks aggravated life sentences for baklava makers over Gülen links

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Serdar Seyidoğlu

An indictment prepared by an İstanbul prosecutor seeks aggravated life sentences and an additional 15 years in jail for businessmen Mustafa Seyidoğlu and Serdar Seyidoğlu, owners of the famous Seyidoğlu Baklava chain.

The businessmen, who were arrested last September due to alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, are facing aggravated life sentences on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and an additional 15 years on charges of membership in an armed terrorist organization.

The indictment was prepared by public prosecutor Gökalp Kökçü from the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office.

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 despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. 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.

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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