Erdoğan aide’s son-in-law acquitted of Gülen ties

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Ekrem Yeter (L), former Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç

The son-in-law of Bülent Arınç, a former deputy prime minister and a current member of the Presidential Higher Advisory Board, has been acquitted of terrorism charges stemming from his alleged ties to the Gülen movement, the Sözcü daily reported on Thursday.

An indictment seeking 15 years in prison had been filed for Arınç’s son-in-law, Ekrem Yeter, who was released four days after his arrest in June 2017 by a court in Ankara on charges of “membership in a terrorist organization,” due to his membership in 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.

The indictment accused Yeter of maintaining his relationship with the Gülen movement after two corruption investigations became public in late 2013, implicating senior members of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government, and of depositing TL 41,000 in his account at Bank Asya, which was confiscated by the Turkish government in the aftermath of the abortive putsch due to its links to the Gülen movement.

The indictment claimed that Yeter deposited the money after a call by Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, to save the bank from a government-led financial crisis.

At the latest hearing of his trial at the Ankara 19th High Criminal Court, Yeter was acquitted of charges of membership in a terrorist organization.

Yeter, who was working as an associate professor in the cardiology department of Yıldırım Beyazıt University’s medical faculty in Ankara, was among the thousands of people dismissed from their jobs as part of government decrees issued under a state of emergency declared in the wake of the failed coup.

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 30,000 others were jailed and some 600,000 people have been investigated on allegations of terrorism.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan appointed Arınç as a member of the Presidential Higher Advisory Board in May.

Arınç, who also served as spokesperson for Erdoğan’s ruling AKP in the past, had not been in active politics for four years. He was last elected to parliament in 2009.

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