A Turkish court has handed down a three-year, 45-day suspended sentence to Ali Tezel, a journalist and social security expert, for his alleged links to the Gülen movement for depositing money at a Gülen-affiliated bank, Turkish Minute. reported.
The Turkish government has accused the Gülen movement of masterminding a coup attempt on July 15, 2016, labeling it a “terrorist organization”, although the movement strongly denies involvement in the coup attempt or any terrorist activity.
The Istanbul 14e The Supreme Court sentenced Tezel on charges of aiding a terrorist organization for depositing money at the now-closed Gülen-affiliated Bank Asya and calling on others to do the same. The court initially sentenced Tezel to five years, but reduced it due to good behavior and the small amount he had deposited at the bank.
Tezel angered the government in February 2015 by posting a photo on Twitter of himself depositing money at a branch of Bank Asya, which the government shut down after the coup attempt due to his ties to the Gülen movement.
Tezel’s move was interpreted as a sign of support for the bank’s survival at a time when the bank was unlawfully seized by the government.
The case against Tezel was based on a complaint filed by his ex-wife, with whom he is involved in a dispute over parental rights, Tezel’s lawyer said.
More than 130,000 people have been fired from government jobs, more than 30,000 others have been jailed and about 600,000 people have been investigated on terrorism charges following the government’s attempted coup as part of its crackdown on the movement.
Depositing money into Bank Asya is also considered a crime by the courts and a sign of support for the Gülen movement, with thousands of people in prison for simply depositing money into its facilities.
Tezel is a prominent journalist who has been writing about social security issues in various Turkish newspapers for years.