Following a recent criminal complaint filed by a group of Turkish lawyers, the İstanbul Chief Public Prosecutor has launched an investigation into 17 prominent US figures including Senator Chuck Schumer, former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara and former CIA Director John Brenan for alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement, CNNTürk reported on Saturday.
According to the report, the investigation is based on allegations of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “attempting to overthrow the government and parliament.”
The prosecutor has started to investigate the details of a meeting of some of the “suspects” in İstanbul’s Büyükada on July 15 and Karaköy on July 17, 2016, the report said.
Mehmet Sarı and Rıza Saka are two of the lawyers who filed the criminal complaints against former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, US Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) President David Cohen, President of the Turkic American Alliance (TAA) Faruk Taban, lawyer Zafer Akın from the Turkish Cultural Center, Kemal Öksüz from the Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians; Emre Çelik from the Rumi Forum, Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official, former Turkish police chief Ahmet Sait Yayla, who currently resides in the US, Henri Barkey, director of the Middle East Program at the Washington-based Wilson Center, American political analyst Graham E. Fuller, Mahmut Yeter from the Mid Atlantic Federation Of Turkic American Associations, Talha Saraç from the Turkish American Business Network (TABN), former CIA Director John Brenan, Recep Özkan, Burak Yeneroğlu and Ralph Peters.
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 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, 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.
According to a statement from Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on April 2, a total of 113,260 people have been detained as part of investigations into the Gülen movement since the July 15 coup attempt, while 47,155 were put into pre-trial detention.
Contrary to accusations made by President Erdoğan and the Turkish government, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the UK Parliament concluded last month that Gülen and the movement he inspired as a whole were not behind the failed coup in Turkey.
The UK Parliament statement came a week after Germany rejected Erdoğan and the Turkish government’s accusations against the Gülen movement about July 15.
The head of Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Bruno Kahl, said Turkey could not convince them that US-based Turkish-Islamic scholar Gülen was behind the failed coup in July.
Similarly, Devin Nunes, chairman of United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he has not seen any evidence showing Gülen’s involvement in the putsch in Turkey.
In addition, a report prepared by the EU Intelligence Analysis Centre (IntCen) revealed that the coup attempt was staged by a range of Erdoğan’s opponents due to fears of an impending purge.