TURKEY

Former Istanbul police chief remanded over FETO links

FORMER ISTANBUL POLICE CHIEF REMANDED OVER FETO LINKS

A former Istanbul police chief and the former chairman of a clothing retailer were remanded in custody on Saturday for their alleged links to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), a judicial source said.

Former police chief Hüseyin Çapkın had surrendered to police late Friday after an Istanbul court issued arrest warrants for him and the former governor of southwestern Denizli province, Abdulkadir Demir earlier in the day, the source said on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

Istanbul's 30th High Criminal Court issued the arrest warrants after accepting an indictment seeking three times aggravated life sentences for 15 former government officials, including Demir and Çapkın, who are accused of attempting to abolish the constitutional order, attempting to overturn the Turkish parliament and oust the current government.

The 309-page indictment also accuses the suspects of being members of an armed terrorist organization; prosecutors seek an additional five to 10-year jail terms on this charge.

Eight of the officials are facing additional charges of financing terrorism, for which they face seven-and-a-half years to 15-year jail terms.

Three suspects are also accused of using the ByLock messenger app -- an encrypted smartphone software that authorities suspect FETO members used to communicate with each other.

Thirteen of the suspects were already in custody except for Çapkın and Demir. The pair had been released earlier but the court re-issued their arrest warrants.

Separately, the former chairman of Aydinli Group, Omer Faruk Kavurmaci was also taken back into custody after Istanbul's 23rd High Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him on Friday.

Kavurmaci was first arrested on Aug. 18, 2016 as part of a nationwide probe into the financing of FETO, and remanded in custody on Sept. 6, 2016. He was released on May 4 for health reasons.

According to the Turkish government, FETO and its U.S.-based leader, Fetullah Gulen, orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

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