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Up to 15 years in prison sought for 21 former TRT staff due to Gülen links

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A prosecutor has drafted an indictment seeking up to 15 years in prison for 21 former state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) staff members due to alleged Gülen links.

The indictment, which was accepted by Ankara 23rd High Criminal Court, is seeking jail sentences of between seven to 15 years for dismissed TRT staff members, accusing them of membership in an armed terrorist organization.

According to the indictment, the staff members used a smart phone application known as ByLock, had accounts at Bank Asya, which was confiscated by the Turkish government due to Gülen links, and met with “leaders” of the Gülen movement, accused by the Turkish government of mounting a botched coup attempt last July.

Turkish authorities believe using ByLock is a sign of being a Gülen follower as they see the mobile phone application as the top communication tool among the group.

The military coup attempt on July 15 killed 249 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 and initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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