Turkey detains Erdogan’s former security chief in post-coup crackdown

January 13, 2017 10:30 am

The former chief of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security staff, Maksut Karal (L)

Turkish authorities have arrested the former chief of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s security staff over his alleged affiliation to the network of US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Ankara government accuses of having orchestrated the failed July 15 coup attempt last year.
Maksut Karal was detained on Wednesday, and charged with being a member of a “terrorist organization” in addition to having backed the botched putsch, Turkish-language CNN Turk television network reported on Friday.
Karal was relieved from his post under the presidential decree No. 675 issued on October 29, 2016.
He was first arrested last month as part of police investigations into illegal gold mining in the mountainous and seaside Kemer district, situated 40 kilometers west of the southwest coastal city of Antalya. He was taken into custody along with three other suspects but was later released.
Turkish officials say over 240 people were killed and more than 2,100 others injured in the coup attempt.

A detained Turkish soldier, who allegedly took part in the failed July 15 military coup, arrives with his hands bound behind his back at the Istanbul Justice Palace on July 20, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

Tens of thousands of people, including military personnel, judges and teachers, have been suspended, dismissed or detained as part of the post-coup crackdown.
According to a survey conducted by the official Anadolu news agency, a total of 40,832 suspects have been arrested since the mid-July botched putsch. A total of 2,279 administrative and judicial judges, 104 members of the Appeals Court, 41 members of the Council of State, two members of the Supreme Court, and three members of the Supreme Council of Judges and Prosecutors have been arrested as part of the ongoing investigations.
Additionally, 168 army generals, 7,596 Security Directorate police officers, 17 governors, 74 deputy governors, and 69 district governors under the Interior Ministry have been detained.
International rights groups argue that Ankara’s crackdown has gone far beyond the so-called Gulenists and targeted Kurds as well as government critics in general.
On November 24, the European Parliament decided to temporarily halt accession negotiations with over the large-scale crackdown.
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