Gülen’s 61-year-old brother joins other relatives under custody

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221One of the brothers of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, Kutbettin, has been detained in the western province of İzmir, Turkish media reports said on Sunday.

Kutbettin Gülen was detained at a relative’s house in Gaziemir district as part of an investigation into the faith-based Gülen movement, which has been labelled as a terrorist organization by the Turkish government despite lack of any evidence to this effect.

Turkey experienced a military coup attempt on July 15 that killed over 240 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 despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup despite the lack of any tangible evidence.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, but President Erdoğan — calling 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.

Turkey, the other day, arrested Gülen’s niece Emine Akay in Turkey’s Balıkesir province. Meanwhile, his two female relatives, known by initials S.K. and N.K. were also detained on the accusation of being member to FETÖ, an abbreviation for what the government calls Fethullahist Terrorist Organization, in the Sakarya’s Hendek district on Saturday. Critics have lambasted the government for a massive purge it is carrying out that violates the principle of individual criminal responsibility. Yet, even Gülen has yet to be found guilty.

More than 100,000 people have been purged from state bodies, 32,000 arrested since the coup attempt. Arrestees include journalists, judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, academics, governors and even a comedian.

This article originally appeared in Turkish Minute on October 2.

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