Former Bursa governor sentenced to 6 years, 3 months over Gülen links

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Şahabettin Harput, a former Turkish governor of the western province of Bursa, was sentenced to six years, three months in prison over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported on Thursday.

The Bursa 8th High Criminal court convicted the former mayor on charges of membership in a terrorist organization but acquitted him of charges of a leadership role in a terrorist organization and violating a law on the financing of terrorism.

The court also ruled to convert his house arrest to judicial supervision on the condition that he not leave the city until his appeal is heard by a higher court.

Following a coup attempt of July 15, 2016 that left 249 people dead and more than a thousand injured, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) along with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan immediately blamed the coup on the Gülen movement.

Islamic cleric 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 – who called 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.

Amid an ongoing witch-hunt targeting the Gülen movement, more than 50,000 people have been jailed while more than 150,000 have been removed from state posts due to alleged Gülen links since the coup attempt.

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