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Former police chief sent to prison over Gülen links after court upholds sentence

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A former police chief who was fired from his job following a coup attempt in Turkey in 2016 due to his alleged links to the Gülen movement was sent to prison after a court upheld his conviction and sentence, the Kronos news website reported.

Former police chief Muammer Buçak, who also served as deputy director of the national police department, was sent to Sincan Prison in Ankara on Wednesday to serve the sentence of eight years, nine months handed down on conviction of membership in a terrorist organization.

Photos showed him in handcuffs while being detained by the police in Ankara.

Buçak was one of the defendants in a trial in which 16 former police chiefs were charged with alleged links to the Gülen movement, 11 of whom were sentenced to between six and 10 years in prison.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) government launched a war against the Gülen movement, a worldwide civic initiative inspired by the ideas of Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, after the corruption investigations of Dec. 17-25, 2013 that implicated then-prime minister and current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s family members and inner circle.

Dismissing the investigations as a Gülenist coup and conspiracy, the AKP government designated the movement as a terrorist organization and began to target its members. The government intensified the crackdown following the coup attempt in July 2016.

A total of 319,587 people have been detained and 99,962 arrested in operations against supporters of the Gülen movement since the coup attempt, Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced in November.

In addition to the thousands who were jailed, scores of other Gülen movement followers had to flee Turkey to avoid the government crackdown.

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