Secret investigation under way into opposition leader over Gülen links: lawyer

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Ercin Top / Anadolu Agency

Turkish prosecutors have been conducting an investigation into İyi (Good) Party leader Meral Akşener since 2016 due to her alleged links to the Gülen movement, which is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding a coup attempt in July 2016, according to Akşener’s attorney.

Lawyer Hasan Seymen, who is also İyi Party deputy chairman, claims an investigation was launched into Akşener in 2016; however, Akşener has not been summoned by the prosecutors to testify as part of the probe because no evidence has been found proving her links to the Gülen movement.

The Turkish government accuses the Gülen movement of masterminding a failed coup on July 15, 2016 and labels it a “terrorist organization,” although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.

Seymen said prosecutors imposed confidentiality on the investigation in May shortly after the March 31 elections when Akşener formed an election alliance with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).

The lawyer said his party would do its best to help the prosecutors while hinting that the investigation into Akşener is politically motivated.

Being a Gülen follower has been used by the Turkish government as a pretext to punish critics and non-loyalists.

Following the coup attempt, the Turkish government launched a massive crackdown on followers of the movement under the pretext of an anti-coup fight as a result of which more than 150,000 people were removed from state jobs while in excess of 50,000 others were jailed, and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.

The İYİ Party was established on Oct. 25, 2017 as an alternative for nationalists and center-right Turkish voters. The party, which failed to pass the 10 percent threshold in the June 24 parliamentary elections in 2018, secured 43 seats in parliament due to its election alliance with the CHP and the Felicity Party (SP).

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