Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s chief adviser, Birol Erdem, who was detained on June 3 in Ankara as part of a witch-hunt targeting the faith-based Gülen movement, which the government accuses of masterminding a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, was released by the court on Saturday, the Haberturk reported.
While Erdem who was accused of violating the constitutional order and serving as an executive in an armed terrorist organization, was released on judicial probation, Erdem’s wife, Gülümser Erdem, who was also detained in Ankara for alleged membership in the Gülen movement as part of the same investigation launched by the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, was arrested.
A former member of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), Birol Erdem served as Justice Ministry undersecretary between 2011-2014 before being appointed chief adviser to the prime minister.
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.
Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denies 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 report by the Anadolu news agency on May 28, 154,694 individuals have been detained and 50,136 have been jailed due to alleged Gülen links since the failed coup attempt.