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Erdoğan’s former chief military aide arrested again over coup charges

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s former chief military aide, Staff Col. Bekir Furkan Özdaban, who was released from prison on judicial probation last week, was rearrested on Wednesday upon the objection of an Ankara prosecutor.

Özdaban had been detained on Jan. 16 in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) as part of an investigation into a failed coup attempt on July 15 and was accused of links to the Gülen movement, which the government holds responsible for the botched coup.

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 called the coup “a great gift of God” and pinned the blame on the Gülen movement, inspired by US-based Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.

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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